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My Lead Dog Was A Lesbian: Mushing Across Alaska in the Iditarod--the World's Most Grueling Race Paperback – March 19, 1996


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My Lead Dog Was A Lesbian: Mushing Across Alaska in the Iditarod--the World's Most Grueling Race + Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; A Later Printing. edition (March 19, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679764119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679764113
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mushing is an odd sport for anybody. First you take a dozen-plus slightly tamed dogs ("damned wolves with collars," one rancher calls them), strap them to a sled that, with little enough provocation, will send you rocketing into the tundra and start out for the 1000-mile race accompanied by chunks of frozen liver and the occasional whole reporter?this after forking over $1249. O'Donoghue, who moved to Alaska from the lower 48 to work for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, decided to start mushing after just two winters. He soon entered Iditarod XIX while writing a column for the paper titled "Off to the Races." Perhaps because his own mishaps (shredded doggie booties, sled falls, lack of sleep, poor visibility, missed shelters, tangled, bruised, grouchy and, as the title implies, polymorphously perverse, dogs) don't really change over the course of the race (they just accumulate), O'Donoghue introduces a large cast of other mushers. These do bring new misadventures, but the account can be a little confusing. O'Donoghue's style is amusing but rarely laugh-out-loud. Instead, what really keeps this book going is the same thing that keeps the racers going, a kind of bloody-minded doggedness that thinks, when faced with frostbitten fingers, not about the possibility of amputation but the possibility of scratching.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap

O'Donoghue tells what happened when he entered the 1991 Iditarod, along with 17 sled dogs with names like Rainy, Harley and Screech. O'Donoghue braved snowstorms, sickening wipeouts, and endured the contempt of more experienced racers. Narrated with icy elan and self deprecating wit, this is a true story of heroism, cussedness, and astonishing dumb luck.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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This is far from the best-written non-fiction book I have ever read.
A Customer
I can only imagine how it was attempting to finish the "Last Great Race", the Iditarod.
jjlamkin@netscape.net
I was immediately sucked into the story and enjoyed every laugh, groan and cheer.
Cindy Hiday

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
I bought this book on the way to the airport for a flight to Helsinki. I wanted a book on mushing but and this was the only book the store had in so I grabbed it not convinced I was going to like it. Once I opened it I couldn't put it down. This has to be one of the greatest books I've ever read. This is a guy who can really keep a captive audience with his stories. And funny!!! I laughed almost all the way across the ocean. I'm a musher who wants to run the Iditarod and have gone through one when my boyfriend ran it and thought that's why I appreciated his humor so much but while I was in Helsinki my housemate who HATES dogs period and has ZERO intrest in mushing was laughing really hard one evening. I peeked into the livingroom to see what was so funny and there she was reading this book. I must have loaned it to a hundred people so far and everyone of them loved it! I reccomend this book to everyone!!! Even cat lovers! PS - we even "borrowed" one of his dog's names for one of ours!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is far from the best-written non-fiction book I have ever read. The journalist's experience writing in the shorter form of articles shows through in the disjointed feel of much of the narrative. This is still well worth the read if you have any interest in Alaska, mushing, or man's working relationship with dogs. Even without those interests you may well find the book enjoyable.
At the beginning I was first overcome by the romantic notion of this amazing race, and reading through his preparations deluded myself with the fantasy of doing such a thing myself (a real joke considering how much I dislike even camping). Once the race gets underway, my most common thought was "these people are ...insane!" It was terrific and I really wanted to know how it would turn out for each and every one of them.
The title can provide for some fun too. The other day I overheard from another room Child A ask, "What is a lesbian?" Child B responded, "It is a type of dog." After much laughter I had to call them in and correct it, although I had fun imagining the kind of conversation this could cause in public at one point if they were both left with their misconception.
Since you are on this page, and reading these reviews, you are probably interested enough in the subject that reading this book would be a positive experience for you.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Kleber on February 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Last January I drove a twelve dog sled along the Iditarod Trail outside Nome. I had not gone far when I was thrown from the runners whilst overturning the sled. That one event gave me a new appreciation for anyone who can not just mush, but run and complete the Iditarod. This is one fantastic book, well written, and suspensful. Since most of us will never do the race, it is the next best thing to pick up on a cold winter's night and dream of glory or humiliation. I know how the author did in the race, but I won't reveal the ending. Take it from someone who drove the Iditarod for three feet, you will love this book with the strange name.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
On a cold winter night, to read this excellent book is about as close as most of us will ever get to doing the Iditarod Trail. I tried it with twelve dogs outside Nome last January, and I made it three feet before being thrown from the runners. That brief stint gave me a tremendous appreciation for the people who undertake the difficult journey. Brian has written a book as fast moving as the race itself. From the first page, I was entralled to see how he would finish. I know, but I won't spoil it for the reader. It's enough to say that as Brian approached Nome, I found myself pulling for him. Such is the way he can write. If one wants to know what it entails to make the one thousand mile plus journey, it can be found here. So pick up this wonderfully written and exciting book, sit back, and experience Alaska at its best.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K Smuts on November 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
I thought the book was well written - I read at every opportunity, even my lunch time at work! I'm from South Africa, where winter day temperatures hover around 15 deg C (59 F) and I've seen snow maybe twice in my life, but this story was written in such a way that I'm burning to try mushing myself! Imagine that! I've ordered other books on mushing which, I'm hoping, will convince me that I shouldn't be so crazy.
Well worth the read and keep it on your bookshelf for future reading.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By jjlamkin@netscape.net on March 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book was hard to put down. Every time I started to read, I wanted to know what happened next. Every chapter was a new adventure for Brian O'Donoghue. I have a deep respect for what he did. I can only imagine how it was attempting to finish the "Last Great Race", the Iditarod. This is a TRUE story about determination and strong will power to accomplish one thing, finish the Iditarod.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 1996
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered this book based on rave reviews of others. Initially,
the shift in time from one scene to another is confusing, but
once the reader gets used to the format, the book is engrossing.

Having also read Winterdance, by Gary Paulsen, I was prepared
for the descriptions of the grueling test the mushers and
dogs face. What was great about THIS book is the realism
of the event and especially the character sketches of "name"
mushers. The other mushers in the race are far more than
just names, they are real people, acting in the "sometimes great,
sometimes evil, sometimes stupid, sometimes humane" way that real
people do.

In addition, because the book spends a lot of time "in the back"
of the race, you understand that the Iditarod tests ALL the mushers,
not just the winners.
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