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From Booklist Nov. 15, 2016
* JACK LONDON AND THE KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH
Author: Peter Lourie
Illustrator: Wendell Minor

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt
Pages: 192
Price (Hardcover): $18.99
Publication Date: March 2017
ISBN (Hardcover): 9780805097573

Part of an economically depressed America in 1897, 21-year-old Jack London would become one of hundreds of thousands of Stampeders who would try—and fail—to find gold in Canada’s Yukon Territory. In visceral descriptions, Lourie recounts the treacherous, backbreaking 500-mile trek up mountains and down rivers, on which London and his fellow cheechakos (a Native term for newcomers who were ignorant of the terrain and culture) risked their lives to reach the gold-rush town of Dawson before winter. Once settled, London met more challenges in constant sub-freezing temperatures as miners’ tempers flared, death took many forms, and hard work was met with disappointment. Yet Lourie tells how the budding writer countered the bleakness with observations of the Arctic land, animals, and people. Although London returned home one year later with only gold dust, Lourie explains how London’s real wealth was found in the characters and events that inspired White Fang, The Call of the Wild, and dozens of other books and short stories, making him the first author of the twentieth century to earn a million dollars from writing. Minor lends atmospheric sketches, but the numerous archival photos add a greater perspective of the time. Copious back matter, including information on First Nations of the area, provides more facts about London’s journey. Rich in details for social studies and language arts. — Angela Leeper

Kirkus Dec 1, 2016

In this thoroughly riveting real-life-adventure story, Lourie recounts in visceral detail the frequently treacherous, relentlessly grueling 500-mile traverse along the ruthless Chilkoot Trail and Whitehorse Rapids to the Klondike gold mines. Lourie explains how London's experiences in the Klondike became the seeds for some of his best-known, most highly regarded works, such as The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and "To Build a Fire."...Extensive backmatter includes information on First Nations peoples of the area and additional facts about London's journey. A gripping and harrowing true adventure story and a penetrating look into the formative experiences of a writer, one of the first to become a worldwide celebrity. (photos, timeline, glossary, bibliography, index) (Biography. 8-12) Kirkus

 

***

Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books

JACK LONDON AND THE KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH
Author:Peter Lourie
Illustrator: Wendell Minor

Publisher: Henry Holt
Pages: 192
Price (Hardcover): $18.99
Publication Date: March 2017
ISBN (Hardcover): 9780805097573

 

Kids who find Call of the Wild or White Fang on a required reading list eventually learn that author Jack London had experienced the Yukon first hand. Lourie’s account finds London well before his writing days, focusing solely on London’s 1897 trek into the Klondike gold fields—a bit too late for the initial big strikes that set off the Stampede, and a bit too early for the human onslaught that would swell the population of Dawson and leave thousands of fortune seekers destitute. Lourie’s command of the Stampeders’ trials is first rate, and London’s personal experiences are in many ways typical of the 1897 adventurers who invested all they had, fought their way over the Chilkoot Pass, braved the rapids on their way to Dawson in leaky handmade boats, and arrived (if they were very lucky) in time to stake and register claims that would change their lives. Indeed, like so many of his fellow adventurers, London’s life did change—just not in the way he had envisioned. Forced by scurvy to leave after one season, London returned with plots, observations, and character studies that would make him, “at the age of twenty-seven . . . the most famous and highly paid writer in the world.” ... for readers who love a great true adventure tale, and if it scores them bonus points with the English teacher, so much the better. An index, timeline, and glossary are included. EB

 

JACK LONDON AND THE KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH:

"In visceral descriptions, Lourie recounts the treacherous, backbreaking 500-mile trek up mountains and down rivers . . . Minor lends atmospheric sketches, but the numerous archival photos add a greater perspective of the time. Rich in details for social studies and language arts."—Booklist, starred review

"A fantastic work"-VOYA

"Lourie’s captivating tale of the grueling experiences behind London’s crystalline prose testifies to his endurance. Minor’s windswept spot illustrations augment archival and modern photos and other supplemental material."-Publishers Weekly

"A gripping and harrowing true adventure story and a penetrating look into the formative experiences of a writer, one of the first to become a worldwide celebrity."—Kirkus Reviews