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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Yukon: Lonesome Except for the Ghosts, September 10, 2006
This review is from: A Land Gone Lonesome: An Inland Voyage along the Yukon River (Hardcover)
Dan O'Neill drops his canoe into the Yukon River near Dawson City (Canada) and paddles downriver in search of the Alaskan homesteader and the subsistence lifestyle familiar to many from John McPhee's book, "Coming Into the Country."

O'Neill's book is meant as both an update and a rebuke to McPhee and his fans. Most emphatically, O'Neill documents the decay and disappearance of the trappers that McPhee wrote about. Outside a few tiny villages, there is no longer a single family inhabiting the whole area O'Neill surveys on a year-round basis. He visits cabin after decaying abandoned cabin, musing on the complicity of the National Park Service in eliminating a culture that, from O'Neill's perspective, was worth preserving.

I expect there are a lot of Alaskans that share O'Neill's disappointment. And he does an excellent job communicating it - he's a first-rate journalist. Some parts of the story are downright lyrical; others are first-rate news reporting.

The narrative thread of his canoe journey from time to time gets buried behind his urge to fuss at the authorities setting policy in the area. The book gets increasingly episodic and disjointed the further downstream he gets. However, for fans of McPhee's book, and for fans of Alaska in general, a worthy addition to the literature.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 10, 2008, 4:26:21 PM PST
matisse dog says:
Does anybody know what happened to Donna Kneeland? She was written about by John McPhee but no mention is made in O'Neill's book.
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