Most helpful positive review
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Interesting history, great story
on August 19, 2000
Subtitled, 'The Story of Hannah Breece', Jacobs has gathered her aunt's journals and diaries, as well as US government data relating to Alaska during the years 1904-1917 and has written a fascinating history. Hannah Breece served as a US government funded public school teacher in a number of remote sites in the then newly admitted state of Alaska. Her students were Aleuts, Eskimos, Russians, and children of other more obscure nationalities and ethnicities. Although Breece tells her own story in a less passionate, emotional voice, the story itself, is a powerful one. This is a biography of a single woman in her forties and fifties, thousands of miles from her family in Pennsylvania, teaching native peoples, not only English and math and science, but gardening, sewing, cooking, and a variety of other more domestic skills. Her tales of the extreme weather, the isolation, the conflicts and discrimination between the different ethnic groups, and of her travel, which took place from the Kodiak Islands, to Wrangell, to Fort Yukon, are astonishing and provide an illuminating glimpse of life in a different time, and in a far-away place. In the last quarter of the book the author, Breece's niece, brings together some of the historical data that Breece leaves unmentioned in her journals. We learn more about the US government constraints, policies, and employees all functioning or not at the time.