Klondike: The Last Great Gold Rush, 1896-1899

Pierre Berton's Klondike: The Last Great Gold Rush, 1896-1899 won the Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction in 1958.

Pierre Berton

With the building of the railroad and the settlement of the plains, the North West was opening up. The Klondike stampede was a wild interlude in the epic story of western development, and here are its dramatic tales of hardship, heroism, and villainy. We meet Soapy Smith, dictator of Skagway; Swiftwater Bill Gates, who bathed in champagne; Silent Sam Bonnifield, who lost and won back a hotel in a poker game; and Roddy Connors, who danced away a fortune at a dollar a dance. We meet dance-hall queens, paupers turned millionaires, missionaries and entrepreneurs, and legendary Mounties such as Sam Steele, the Lion of the Yukon.

Pierre Berton's riveting account reveals to us the spectacle of the Chilkoot Pass, and the terrors of lesser-known trails through the swamps of British Columbia, across the glaciers of souther Alaska, and up the icy streams of the Mackenzie Mountains. It contrasts the lawless frontier life on the American side of the border to the relative safety of Dawson City. Winner of the Governor General's award for non-fiction, Klondike is authentic history and grand entertainment, and a must-read for anyone interested in the Canadian frontier. (From Anchor Canada)

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The Hudson's Bay Comopany traders heard tales of gold, too, when they invaded the Yukon Valley at mid-century, but paid them no heed, for furs to them were richer treasure. They built Fort Yukon at the mouth of the Porcupine, where the great river makes its majestic curve across teh Arctic Circle, and they built Fort Selkirk some six hundred miles upstream at the point where it is joined by the sombre Pelly, and they did not know that both forts were on the same watercourse.

From Klondike by Pierre Berton ©1971. Published by Anchor Canada.

More about this author

Pierre Berton: the writer at home

35 years ago
Berton produces his books of popular history at his peaceful rural retreat in Kleinburg, Ont. 8:41

Goodbye, Pierre Berton

17 years ago
The journalist, broadcaster and historian passes away in 2004 at age 84. <p><em>Rick Mercer's Monday Report&nbsp;</em>produced by&nbsp;Island Edge Inc.</p> 5:13