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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Fascinating

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • Huntington, NY, United States
  • 02-04-06

Excellent story even for non dog lovers

A truly fantastic story. Was educational, entertaining and at times emotional. I found myself with tears in my eyes at several points. Amazing story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maureen
  • WAUNAKEE, WI, USA
  • 04-01-05

Adventure & History

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.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

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 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bea
  • Wellington, , FL, USA
  • 03-17-05

Riveting

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Gnarly1
  • Sacramento, CA USA
  • 04-02-05

Great Adventure

Dogs and mushers race time, the cold, and bitter storms to bring life-saving serum to Nome. A true and exciting story. Narration is excellent.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful