– Tania Staley

reader's favorite five star badgeThe history of Alaska comes alive once more in Aunt Phil’s Trunk Volume 2. Compiled from the countless notes and research done by her late aunt, Phyllis Downing Carlson, and her own painstaking researching, Laurel Downing Bill has once again created a fascinating account of Alaska’s history and the characters that made it the state it is today. Aunt Phil’s Trunk Volume 2 starts out where Volume 1 left off, with the gold rush in Alaska, and continues through to the eruption of Katmai in 1912.

It is obvious that Laurel Downing Bill has channeled her aunt’s passion and love for Alaska. Aunt Phil’s Trunk Volume 2 has a heart that other history texts lack. Her intrigue, interest, and even the humor she finds in the events that have formed the great state of Alaska are infectious. Residents of Alaska can take great pride in the grand accounts that can be found in this book, while those who have never been there can get a glimmer of the beauty and antiquity that lies within its lands. As I said before with the first volume of this collection, Bill’s text is far from boring or stuffy, like many history books that often never get farther than offering the blandest of facts. It is instead an amusing read that allows readers to learn as they are being entertained.

Bill’s book is chock full of first person accounts and photographs, which allows the imagination of the reader to rebuild the landscape. I often found myself smiling at the motley of characters that braved the harsh wintry lands in order to settle Alaska. Once again, I highly recommend Aunt Phil’s Trunk by Laurel Downing Bill. It is a fascinating read that is sure to enthrall both scholars and casual readers alike.