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Aunt Phil's Trunk, Vol. 1: An Alaska Historian's Collection of Treasured Tales Paperback – June 1, 2013
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Review by David James – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Aunt Phil's Trunk Volume One was an unexpected gem…. deserves to be snatched up by anyone with an interest in our state's rich past.
Review by Tania Staley, Readers’ Favorite – 5 Stars
I highly recommend this book for history buffs and anyone wanting to know more about Alaska’s heritage … I look forward into to delving into Phyllis Downing Carlson and Laurel Downing Bill’s volumes 2-5 of Aunt Phil’s Trunk, as well.
Review by Michelle Stanley, Readers’ Favorite – 5 Stars
Laurel Downing Bill did a remarkable job writing this book and illustrating it with hundreds of historical photographs….
Review by Kathryn Bennett, Readers’ Favorite – 5 Stars
… I love the format that Laurel Downing Bill uses to tell the history of Alaska … I am looking forward to reading more books in this series and I would give this book a big recommendation for history lovers. …
Review by Jack Magnus, Readers’ Favorite – 5 Stars
Phyllis Downing Carlson and her niece, Laurel Downing Bill's pictorial history, Aunt Phil's Trunk: Volume One Bringing Alaska's History Alive, does what it sets out to do – it really does bring Alaska's history alive … and is highly recommended.
Review by Anne-Marie Reynolds, Readers’ Favorite – 5 Stars
Aunt Phil's Trunk Volume One by Laurel Downing Bill was a fascinating read … the book has been written in a wonderfully narrative way that makes you feel as though you have been transported there … Praise to Laurel Bill for a fantastic journey, one I want to continue.
About the Author
Third-generation Alaskan Laurel Downing Bill has turned her Alaska historian aunt's work into a lovely series of books that highlight Alaska's colorful past. Downing Bill earned a degree in journalism from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2003 and wrote several award-winning articles while employed as a reporter for the Anchorage Chronicle newspaper from 2002-2004. Her weekly Alaska history column, titled "Aunt Phil's Trunk," was a favorite with the paper's subscribers. Bill's award-winning stories have appeared in newspapers throughout Alaska, as well as Alaska Magazine, Mushing magazine and First Alaskans magazine.
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Top customer reviews
I especially loved the wealth of vintage photographs in these pages that made frontier Alaska spring to life. So many cultures and so many characters populate this book: native tribes, Russian and American explorers and fortune hunters, trappers, prospectors, merchants, heroes, shamans, and scalawags. They are all here in their wild and woolly glory, pitting themselves against one of the most beautiful and forbidding landscapes in the world. In pre-1900 Alaska, fortune and disaster are never more than a hair's breadth apart.
AUNT PHIL'S TRUNK is full of well-researched tales both wonderful and tragic. Written in a clear, coherent, and evocative voice, it is a fascinating window to Alaska's wild past. Highly recommended!
Target Audience/Genre: Aunt Phil's Trunk is a series of five books regarding the history of Alaska. Volume One details the period up to 1900.
Q - What was the Amazon Rank on the date this review was published?
A - 1,337,585 among print editions. The Kindle version is ranked 359,797.
Q - How was this book obtained?
A - I was provided a copy by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Q - Is this a book that I can read without having to read others first?
A – Yes.
Q - Are there a lot of typos/misspellings, grammatical errors or other editing failures?
A – No, this is well written and well edited.
Q - Is this a fast, easy read or is it more of a leisure read?
A – Aunt Phil's Trunk is an engaging leisure read, chock full of interesting stories, tidbits, and photographs.
Q - What sort of language does this writer use to amplify the points made?
A – Plain English.
Q - My biggest pleasure or disappointment?
A - I loved the detail of the history and the precious photographs of people and places. I am attaching one photograph of
I’ve included a small excerpt below, so readers can peruse the style of presentation utilized by the author.
Two hundred and thirty miles downstream from Fort Yukon is the almost deserted village of Rampart, once an important trading post and supply center for thousands of miners on Minook and Hess creeks.
A half-Russian and half-Native prospector named John Minook was searching for gold about 700 miles down river from Dawson at the mouth of Minook Creek around 1893 when he found gold.
"Were it not for the Klondike, Minook would itself have caused a stampede from the United States," said Pierre Berton in his book, The Klondike Fever.
The village was established as a river supply point for gold placer mines in the hills and creek valleys south of the Yukon, and its name refers to the range of low mountains through which the river runs and forms the "ramparts" of the Upper Yukon.
By 1897, the village of Rampart swelled to 1,000, including the famous writer Rex Beach, who landed in town with a fur-lined sleeping bag, a rifle, a dog-skin suit and a mandolin. Dilapidated cabins brought $800 and lots fetched up to $1,200.
Now, when one walks up and down its deserted paths, it's difficult to imagine busy scenes of the 1890s when eager gold-seekers jumped ashore from busy riverboats and crowded into the stores open day and night, or into the saloons alive with men entering and leaving through their swinging doors.
Simply put, I wish every state had someone preserving their history with the same skill and dedication as Aunt Phil (Phyllis Downing Carlson) and her niece Laurel Downing Bill. I've glanced at each of the five books, but will be writing separate reviews, in order to do them the justice they deserve.
I have not yet checked the kindle editions, but, so enamored with the print versions am I, that I am sure to add each of the Kindle copies for my library. Why? Because I can enlarge the photographs and illustrations and because I can adjust the type size to a size that I do not need my reading glasses to read.
I rate this first volume five stars out of five.
Comments regarding your opinion of this book or of my review, whether favorable or unfavorable, are always welcome. If you buy the book based on my review and become disappointed, especially, I do want to know that and I want to understand how I can improve as a book reviewer. Just please be polite.
I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about how Alaska came to be, the Russian and Japanese influences and the gold rush.
Easy and quick read but full of great information.
"I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review." i
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