Klondike … Tales of a Gold Rush …

22 Jan

Everything about the Klondike Gold Rush seems over-the-top and inflated. But I don’t believe it is. Gold Fever and the infamous history of gold strikes on a world-wide scale tell the same tale – of what men will do in the quest for the yellow metal – be it the Transvaal, California or from Kalgoorlie to the Klondike, it’s a history written in blood and lust. Few are tales of success – mostly of tragedy, failure and broken dreams – and incredible exploits. And surely great fodder for Western lore and Film.

A number of excellent and readable books have emerged over the years. One such book is that written by the eminent Canadian author Pierre Berton:

The Last Great Gold Rush 1896-1899. 

klondike pierre berton

I single Berton’s book out not just because it is excellent, but because he was born in Whitehorse, Yukon. The Klondike was his back yard. Who better to write the definitive book on it’s History?

Pierre Berton 2

dawson chilkoot klondike

10 Responses to “Klondike … Tales of a Gold Rush …”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong January 22, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

    I love history. I’m going to see if this one might just be available on Kindle. I could use a good piece of history right now. Thanks!

  2. Marilyn Armstrong January 22, 2014 at 10:52 pm #

    Found a used copy. Not available on Kindle, but most used copies (collectible) are selling for really big bucks. Again thanks!

    • jcalberta January 22, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

      Berton was an Historian – but writes somewhat flamboyantly – as I recall.
      I hope it’s a good read for you.

      • Marilyn Armstrong January 22, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

        It has great user reviews — and I do love history, so it can’t be bad 🙂

  3. orthodoxchristian2 January 23, 2014 at 1:37 am #

    Yes, some people gave up everything for this precious commodity. And, even when some men struck gold, they spent it all on liquor! Very tragic.

    • jcalberta January 23, 2014 at 3:33 am #

      You are so right. One guy was so supposed to have gotten so rich that he ate off gold plates, but I believe he died penniless. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

  4. cindybruchman January 23, 2014 at 4:01 am #

    Have you tried the book ‘The Floor of Heaven’? Another well written choice about the Klondike. AWESOME post. A most interesting read. I just started the series (taped it) and understand it must seem like a Western soap opera. But I do believe that lunacy did happen up there.

    • jcalberta January 23, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

      Thank you very much for that Cindy. I’ll check that out. I know there are several good books on the subject. Frankly, it’s almost a fluke that I have read Berton’s book – though I enjoyed it, It was the only book of his that I read and it was a LONG time ago that I read it. Hope it’s as good as I remember.
      “Lunacy”?! I bet we don’t know half of it. Gold Fever is a form of insanity it seems.

  5. Mark Stanton December 16, 2014 at 6:43 am #

    Nice post, didn’t realise Pierre Berton wrote a book – I’ll have to get it! He made a short “Gold Rush” film in the 1950’s that was nominated for an oscar. You can view on youtube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGxHHAX1nOY
    The story of my family’s brush with the Yukon is told here http://www.stantonetal.com/genealogy/histories/feature1mainpage.php

    Mark (Worcester, UK)

    • jcalberta December 16, 2014 at 10:13 am #

      Thank you for your comment.
      Berton had a special and deep interest in the Klondike – having been born in Whitehorse, Yukon in 1920. He was a good writer and researcher though at times we wonder if things aren’t embellished a bit. Yet as they say ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ – and when it comes to men and gold, pretty well anything is possible.
      Thank you for those links. I’ll check ’em out.

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