Just spent a week on an Alaskan cruise and this book really enhanced the experience. Lots of history told in the context of a very compelling story.
Likes: Cozy mysteries (cats a plus), personal memoirs,not too dark fantasy, books about the brain. Dislikes: Torture, animal cruelty.
The book is of course about a journey made by dog sled to bring vaccines to Nome Alaska to save the locals from a diphtheria epidemic. You would certainly expect digressions of the history of dog sledding, or on some local culture, etc. What I did not bargain for was the author pretty much giving the history of the peoples of Alaska from the time that the first human set foot there to the time of the Nome epidemic all at once, so I had back story for maybe 2 hours straight. It isn't that that information wasn't interesting, but I thought I was reading a book about this epidemic and for hours, that is for days of listening, the plot did not advance at all. I think that might have done me in if I was actually reading and not just listening.
I did finish though. I was so worried about the fates of the two main sled dogs - Togo and Balto. I am sensitive about animals. I needn't have worried, since they both lived to be old dogs. I mention that not as a spoiler but to reassure people sensitive to animal cruelty that they can handle the book. I suppose it is somewhat silly to worry about the dogs anyway since the book is set in the 1920's so the longest living dog would have been long, long dead by now. At the end they tell you how a lot of the humans ended up as well. It amazed me really that the majority of these people, despite living these hard lives in Alaska lived to be very old. Of course I felt all nostalgic reading it and it seemed to me that our modern world is a much duller place. On the other hand, people aren't dropping like flies from diphtheria.
I do not think I have the ability to even understand minus 60 degrees. It amazes me that anyone can deal with that sort of thing. I just have trouble believing that people have the abilities they would need to survive. For example, they mentioned how if you took off your glove within 30 seconds your hand would freeze (at some temp or other that they were dog sledding in). The quick decisions and reactions required to survive in those conditions just don't strike me as skills possessed by the majority of people. At least not the people I know. Of course I don’t know anyone living in rural Alaska.
The story of the dogs is fabulous but the book is way more than that. A great history of that time in Alaska -- brave dogs; hearty people
As an owner of a performance dog, I loved hearing about these incredible sled dogs. The detail of the trip, the Alaskan landscape....just everything about the books was great
No, but I thought he was great
Historically Informative, Edge of the seat Action, Compassionately Written.
When Seppala and Togo first drove through Nome. They were a 20 dog team with bells on them. An Alaskan Santa Claus to the rescue was the visual I had from that scene.
I highly recommend this book. The delivery of the background information was fantastic, the setting of the stage was well done. I learned about diphtheria, eradicated in my life, but what a nasty bacteria! A truly enjoyable listen!
I've listened to 90 min. of this title, and can already say that it's going to be one of my favorite listens so far.
The story and Alaska's scenery are wonderfully worded, and all is beautifully narrated.
Keep you posted!
The story is amazing. I liked the background information about Alaska. The narrator, though, could not have been more boring. His narration was a monotone, which ruined the excitement of the story.
A truly fantastic story. Was educational, entertaining and at times emotional. I found myself with tears in my eyes at several points. Amazing story.
My husband and I both really liked this historical adventure story. At first when the author took side trips to share historical and regional information, we thought it was distracting, but then really liked how it added so much to the story. The narration was excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed this book.
I liked thenarrator. His grizzled low voice lent itself well to the mushers in the story.
But I was dissapointed with the story not because of the subject matter but because of the anticlamax. For an author who is able to take the reader onto the dog sled itself, he does a terrible job of describing the illness (just another case of excuciating bleeding membrane in the throat) and the sense of urgency, and I sometimes had trouble following where the dogs were and how much back-up serum remained. There were elements of the story (like the air rescue attempt) that I believe took away from the narrative. And the epilogue just got more and more depressing! Don't listen to it!
This book may have come first, but I think that society is now saturated with TV dramas that attempt similar plot lines.
The Cruelist Miles was not only a wonderful history lesson, but you ride along with the mushers as they risk their lives to help save the people of Nome. As a dog lover, I was so captured by the extreme intelligence of these animals and how they would keep on going and endure freezing conditions and exhaustion so as not to let their musher down. I cannot say enough about this book.