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The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic | [Gay Salisbury, Laney Salisbury]

The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic

The year is 1925. It is sixty degrees below zero. The wind sweeps tons of snow over the deep-frozen Alaskan landscape. The nearest railhead is seven hundred miles away. Airplanes cannot fly. The way to Nome is blocked by a treacherous frozen sound, an icebound port, and mountains to the west. But there is a diphtheria epidemic in Nome. The children need serum from the outside world if they are to survive. Their only hope is a few chosen Eskimo drivers and their teams of dogs.
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Publisher's Summary

The year is 1925. It is sixty degrees below zero. The wind sweeps tons of snow over the deep-frozen Alaskan landscape. The nearest railhead is seven hundred miles away. Airplanes cannot fly. The way to Nome is blocked by a treacherous frozen sound, an icebound port, and mountains to the west. But there is a diphtheria epidemic in Nome. The children need serum from the outside world if they are to survive. Their only hope is a few chosen Eskimo drivers and their teams of dogs, who must make a relay race across the wilderness if the serum is to get to Nome in time. The heroism and stamina of the men and their dogs can only be called legendary. Now, their story can be told.

©2003 Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury; (P)2003 Books On Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"This is an elegantly written book, inspiring tremendous respect for the hardy mushers and their canine partners." (Publishers Weekly)
"The Salisburys have written an amazing story of endurance and courage." (Booklist)
"Margot Dionne delivers this mind-numbing experience in a calm voice, allowing the words to convey the terror and agony that characterized the journey." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (133 )
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4.3 (32 )
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4.2 (31 )
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  •  
    Susan Carter Escondido, CA United States 01-07-04
    Susan Carter Escondido, CA United States 01-07-04 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Cruelest Miles Makes Exciting Reading"

    Fans of adventure stories will love this book. Certainly the rescue of Nome, Alaska from a 1925 diptheria epidemic is an exciting story. Gay and Laney Salisbury's book also includes a lot of Alaskan history and information about Eskimo culture. Their careful research and attention to detail make their stories about the dog drivers and especially the sled dogs positively riveting.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cassi Cleveland, TN, USA 02-28-06
    Cassi Cleveland, TN, USA 02-28-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Chilling!"

    This is one of the best listens in my 3+ years of audio-book listening. It is extremely well-read, has wonderful flow, and includes lots and lots of relative facts and detail which serve to enlighten the tale and not bog it down. The events and people are fascinating and inspiring, and the history is amazing -- sometimes hard to believe that it all actually occurred in the early 20th century, at a time when most of the country (lower 48) enjoyed modern luxuries and forms of transportation.

    I found this book so fascinating, that I purchased the written volume also, and my young son and I read along/listened to the entire thing for a history lesson. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Alaska, sled dogs, or simply a fascinating event in American history.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shirley Oakland, TN, United States 11-01-07
    Shirley Oakland, TN, United States 11-01-07 Member Since 2007
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    "Shirley"

    beautifully narrated and written. The history about the Alaskan natives and the wonderful dogs was awe-inspiring. I never knew of such deep commitment from a group of people and their dogs to exist. Touching, tear jearking, and awesome true story preserved for us. Now this wuld have been a history lesson worth sitting in class and taking notes! I enjoyed every second of this history rich and interesting book. A must read!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monica Jacksonville, OR, USA 03-03-06
    Monica Jacksonville, OR, USA 03-03-06 Member Since 2005
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    "Compelling true story"

    Facinating true account of the Nome serum dog run. The author makes history come alive, particularly the history of the sled dogs and their mushers. The information on the breeding and training of these working dogs was detailed and very interesting, as was the information on the politics and people behind the serum drive. Great compelling listen

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. Zambrana Fremont, CA USA 12-08-05
    H. Zambrana Fremont, CA USA 12-08-05 Member Since 2002
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    "Excellent!!"

    It's seldom I come across a modern book that both entertains as well as educates me. This work did both. I learned so much about Alaska, their people, their way of life. I felt transported into their world. I learned not only about diptheria but also felt the agony and despair that those children experienced. My spirit was exulted by the human drama of common man transformed into heroes by a love of their fellow men. And more than anything, I gain a new appreciation and love for the amazing dogs. Simply put --- excellent!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Kings Mountain, NC, USA 04-15-05
    Joshua Kings Mountain, NC, USA 04-15-05
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    "This book was great."

    Facinating. Gripping. Emotional. Couragous. This book was one of the best I've ever heard. The author combines the main tail with a collection of tangental stories that are told at just the right time and provide a perfect backdrop for the overall story. I highly recommend this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenn Salinas, CA, United States 01-05-09
    Glenn Salinas, CA, United States 01-05-09 Member Since 2008
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    "What We Need Now - A True Inspirational Story"

    I watched a program on the Weather Channel ("Race to Nome". When Weather Changed History. The Weather Channel. March 23, 2008) which referred to this book. You can search Wikipedia to find the facts but it's not nearly as interesting as the story by Gay & Laney Salisbury. The only reason this isn't 5 stars is because there is too much detail and it's a bit long at 9.5 hrs. However, I'm one of those who couldn't get enough since I've listened to the book several times & gone back to the Internet for more. Highly recommended for the soul!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lalyc Charlotte, NC 03-31-07
    lalyc Charlotte, NC 03-31-07 Member Since 2005

    lalyc2000

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    "great listen!"

    Great Listen!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alissa Arlington, VA, United States 03-30-05
    Alissa Arlington, VA, United States 03-30-05 Member Since 2004
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    "a cold 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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DIANE 06-22-14
    DIANE 06-22-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Great read for your Alaska cruise"
    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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