Last week another Amazon Top 500 reviewer wrote an awesome review for the new Volume Five of Aunt Phil’s Trunk.
5.0 out of 5 stars
From statehood to natural disasters, mass murderers and a few quirky things, May 20, 2016
Connie (Amazon Top 500 reviwer)
This review is from: Aunt Phil’s Trunk Volume Five (Perfect Paperback)
“What an enjoyable read this was. I read this piecemeal over the past month, sneaking in a chapter a night. Laurel Bill is an engaging historian who focuses on social history and its effects on the present and future. I have not read other volumes in this series. I chose this volume because it begins with Alaskan statehood and the major issues the new Alaskans faced to set up their infrastructure, including the large quantities of new homesteaders from Michigan. This in turn raised questions for the native Eskimos who were already living here. Agreeing on a permanent location for its capital was alone very interesting. So there is a lot covered in the 424 pages, including recaps at the end of the book summarizing the 60s, 70s and early 80s .
The timber and oil industry quickly brought in revenues the state needed. The hard life of an Alaskan, however, also made many mentally ill.
A good 110 pages are dedicated to the Good Friday earthquake of 1964. Towns along the coast took a severe beating, and there are many photographs showing the damage to streets, docks and buildings. This was the first recorded megaquake and lasted five minutes. Tsunami waves traveled as far south as Crescent City, CA!
What I found especially interesting were the chapters that covered unique events to the area. “Some Highlights” and “Some Low Points” cover human interest stories and science news. I had never heard of iceworms but they do exist and were discovered in Cordova. And then there’s the community in Homer that started collecting Betty Crocker coupons until they had enough to redeem for a fire truck in town! What an undertaking! Then there’s the birth of the Iditarod in 1964, a race that’s been held annually ever since.
Bill also covers a few infamous stories, such as mass murderers that alone could take up its own volume. Luckily here in this volume the stories are kept to a minumum and are only printed in this book because of the newsworthiness at the time.
There are black and white photographs on nearly every page, enriching the journalistic text. Chapters are short without being overloaded with too much detail. The end result is a nicely-themed volume of all the big headlines from statehood to 1984, at the height of the Cold War between Alaska and Siberia. The research alone is impressive, paging through old newspapers and archives, old government documents and talking to eye witness residents. Bill is the niece of Phyllis Downing Carlson who started this series of historical tidbits; her work is in memory of the woman who started it all.
I received a free sample in exchange for a review.”