Reviews of Books and Other Media
What are the outstanding works of history, art, science and literature pertinent to rural Alaska, and who are the agencies, companies, and individuals producing them?
Civil Rights Heroine: Review of Fighter in Velvet Gloves by Annie Boochever with Roy Peratrovich Jr.
Elizabeth Peratrovich’s history-making speech before the Alaska Senate in 1945 persuaded passage of America’s first state anti-discrimination act, nearly 20 years prior to Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act. Boochever’s concise, sensitively written, historical teen non-fiction book Fighter in Velvet Gloves conveys Peratrovich’s positive can-do life attitude . . .read more
Rob McCue’s One Water is a refreshingly interior account, not only because the first person narrator reports from inside the action—often the interior of the city cab he drives in half the stories—but also in the sense of “interior” Alaska, with Fairbanks as its hub and “big village.” Even his backcountry adventures take place along Tanana or Yukon tributaries or the great mountains that give rise to these. It’s a feisty guy narrative from the underserved center of the state that quickly surprises you with its inclusiveness. You never know who is going to get in the cab with McCue.read more
Split Tooth review, written by Iñupiaq author and publisher, M. Jacqui Lambert, who is from Kotzebue, Alaska, with family roots in Noorvik and Kiana. Split Tooth © 2018, by Tanya Tagaq, Published by Viking Canada of Penguin Random House Canada, September 25,...read more
Starting a Fire: Bringing Light to the Dark, by Tia Wakolee ©2018 Tia Wakolee has done a brave and necessary thing. She has shared her stories with the world as a step in her journey of healing. She has done this in the form of a self-published book. I learned...read more
Nearly twenty years ago, while preparing to move to remote Alaska with my first husband, my stepmother asked me "How can you even think about moving so far away from your family and other people you love?" At the time, the calculus of my love for and connection with...read more
Gathering wild rice in Minnesota was a touchstone experience, so the cover image of a canoe nosing through a wild rice bed grabbed my attention. Thomas Weso, a Menominee artist and anthropologist, provides an important perspective to understanding American food traditions. © 2016 Wisconsin Historical Society Press.read more
Compiled and edited by granddaughter Eileen Norbert, Menadelook: An Inupiat Teacher’s Photographs of Alaska Village Life, 1907-1932 maps the transition of culture in the early 20th century of a man who bridged two worlds in the early 20th century. Norbert succeeds in demonstrating the importance of self-representation of indigenous culture in anthropology.read more
Village School Libraries When I first moved to a small village in rural Alaska, I would go hang out in the school library. A lot. It was the public internet access point, and as such, a gathering place for the village. I was amazed to find so many books there, in this...read more
Fierce Climate, Sacred Ground: An Ethnography of Climate Change in Shishmaref, Alaska by Elizabeth MarinoMarino isn’t from rural Alaska, nor does she live there. But she’s spent enough of the right kind of time in the community of Shishmaref, to care deeply, and...read more
On a bright winter day last February in a room above the University of Alaska Bookstore in Anchorage, author Chantelle Pence talked to her audience about her first book, Homestead Girl: The View From Here, © 2016, Copper River Press. She, and several Athabascan...read more