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Publisher's Summary

Alaska, 1925: the diphtheria serum is 674 miles away. Without it, the people of Nome will not survive. Nome, Alaska, sits on the edge of the Bering Sea two degrees below the Arctic Circle, and there are few more forbidding places on earth, especially in winter. Dr. Curtis Welch knew the signs of diphtheria, knew that his patients - many of them children - would die without a shipment of fresh serum.

The port was icebound and the nearest railhead was almost 700 miles away across mountains, rivers, and the treacherous ice of Norton Sound. A blizzard was brewing, and airplanes, in 1925, could not fly in such conditions. Only the dogs could do it. A relay was set up, and the drivers, many of them Native Alaskans, set off into the night at 60 below zero, often trusting their lead dogs to find the trail under feet of driven snow. The legendary heroism and endurance of the men and dogs in the Serum Run need no enhancement. Here, for the first time, their story is told in full.

©2003 Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Randhom House 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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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Read This Book!

"The Cruelest Miles" is a remarkable book about the human spirit and the bond between animals and their human companions. Highly recommended for anyone who loves dogs or stories of adventure and overcoming adversity. Very entertaining and extremely engaging.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • L. Olson
  • Cincinnati, OH United States
  • 05-17-04

Just a Story...

I enjoyed this book, truly did, but up to a point. The story is good and has to be told. Certainly the epidemic was terrible and the actions of the people were very courageous, with lots of sacrifices made. And I even loved the way bonds were formed between man and dog. However, this was just an historical narration. There were no interactions between the people involved, just a "person telling a story." When I read or listen to a book, I like to get into the characters involved, to feel what they are feeling, to feel the excitement or anger, or explore other emotions. Sadly this book is lacking in that area. The narrator's voice was clear and concise, but lacking in emotion. If you enjoy this type of narration, then you will very likely enjoy this book. But for me personally, I found my mind wandering at times, and can only give it a 3.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Douglas
  • hendersonville, NC, USA
  • 02-03-04

just enough

I love stories about the human spirit, and people who rise to meet the most difficult challenges. The Cruelest Miles is such a story. You find yourself agonizing over the terrible disease raging through Nome, and cheering heartily for the brave men fighting to stop it. It has a good balance of Alaska lore and the day-by-day account of the race against the epidemic. The narrator was very pleasant, never getting overly dramatic. It is beyond me why people would choose to live there, but their self-sacrifice and spirit of co-operation are inspiring. There is also an unabridged version of this book, but 5+ hours of bone-chilling descriptions was enough.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kothran
  • LOMA LINDA, CA, US
  • 01-18-18

AMAZING!!

Would you listen to The Cruelest Miles again? Why?

YES! It was one of the most entertaining audiobooks I've ever listened too. And now, probably one of my favorite true stories.

Any additional comments?

You will not be disappointed with this book! The story is gripping with larger than life heroes - dogs and humans alike! The fact that it's a true story makes it even more amazing. It's obvious that the authors spent a great deal of time researching this book, and the resulting facts and stories are just awesome.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Informative

Is there anything you would change about this book?

No

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Cruelest Miles?

The last portion of the race to get the medicine to its final location.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The performance was fairly dry and without much change in tone and cadence in her voice throughout the book.

Was The Cruelest Miles worth the listening time?

Absolutely

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An amazing story

This is a great true story of brave men and dogs. I enjoyed the narrator as much as the book. It was very captivating the whole way through.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Alaska's finest

Good book. The determination of the mushers and pilots was amazing. I would recommend this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating, true tale of triumph

This was a riveting story of triumph over seemingly impossible circumstances. The Salisburies tell a great story. I read this because Elaine Salisbury's "Provenance" was such a compelling, well-written, true-life tale that read like a thriller. I will never look at art the same way again. I highly recommend both books.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Betty
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 10-29-09

Who chooses these Narrators?

I can't rate the content, as I've listened to only 5 minutes and am ready to stick a fork in my eye.
This woman sounds like she should be reading a children's Christmas story. Her floaty feathery voice over ennunciation should not be narrating anything longer than 10 minutes. The whispers that imply wonder and mystery when she's discussing the mundane; eggs, dogs chewing on a bone, it's ridiculous.
I know you can't please everyone,
I wish the book companies would do a better job of matching book to narrator.