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 . . .

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Review of One Water: dispatches from the streets and backcountry of Interior Alaska by Rob McCue

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.” . . . It’s a feisty guy narrative from the underserved center of the state that quickly surprises you with its inclusiveness. You never know . . .

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Alaska Native Anthropology: Review of Menadelook, edited by Eileen Norbert

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 . . .

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Indigenous Women Authors: Review of The Round House by Louise Erdrich

When I first moved to a small village in rural Alaska, I would hang out in the school library. A lot. I was amazed to find so many books there, in this tiny community off the road system, where the cost of shipping goods exceeded $1/pound. Old books. New books. Lots of stories by writers I knew. Lots of history about Alaska, by writers I’d never heard of. But I struggled to find books by Indigenous women . . .

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Climate Change and Climate Justice: Review of Fierce Climate Sacred Ground by Elizabeth Marino

Marino 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 respectfully, and she brings the best of her academic skills to advocate for climate justice. With this Kigiqtaamiut ethnography, she bridges cultural gaps between realities of rural Alaska on the edge of climate change, and the churning mill of urban bureaucratic . . .

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Growing Up in Rural Alaska: Review of Homestead Girl by Chantelle Pence

On a bright winter day in February, in a sunny room above the University of Alaska Bookstore in Anchorage, author Chantelle Pence talked to her audience about her first book. She, and several Athabascan speakers, discussed growing up in rural Alaska. They spoke from various perspectives. They spoke with heart. And they reached our hearts. . .

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