Tag archive for "Alaska"

Alaska, Books

Raiders

No Comments 11 July 2013

McCloskey makes his last set as this fine trilogy comes to a close.  Raiders characters mature just as the subject matter comes of age.  Political drama, personal intrigue, cultural differences.  Even though the story and characters are fictional, the events and emotions are very real and certainly command center stage today just as they did in the 1980s.  One of the more interesting themes is the cultural interaction between the Japanese, native Alaskan and the American fisherman.  By looking at the evolution of the fishing community we can extrapolate to predict the future of the fishing industry.  A further generalization predicts the future of many industries.  But the old days, the last third of the 20th century in this case, are gone.  It was a bold time, when men could live large, when risk rode with brains and muscle into the eye storm seeking buxom reward.  Not just to make a living, but to make a point.  A very personal point, shared with crew and friends, often, spoken only with tears.  The romance, like that of the Old West, will live on far into the future.  With the same salt crystals at the corner of the eye as grace the gunnel at sunset.

Alaska, Books, Velkommen

Breakers

No Comments 24 March 2013

The second novel in William McCloskey’s trilogy.    The characters mature and the fishing grows from smaller boats to bigger boats.  The politics get interesting, as foreign interests endeavor to use every loophole to obtain the Alaskan bounty they lost when the 200 mile limit on fishing was imposed.  Breakers is  a great read, factual in many aspects, but fictional and romanticized just enough to keep the pages turning rapidly.  It captures  the energy of commercial fishing, and superimposes human faces to weave the story.  Fishing fans should read it twice.  It is a well told story, McCloskey talking about what he knows and loves.  No more pretentious than that.  If you love big water  and big adventure.  This book’s for you!

 

Alaska, Books

Highliners

No Comments 21 February 2013

A fun and entertaining read.  Nothing too weighty; just right for a cozy night at anchor.  Highliners is book one of a trilogy including Breakers and RaidersWilliam McCloskey begins the tale of Hank Crawford, August, 1963, fresh out of college on his way to a cannery job on Kodiak Island, looking for overtime and big dollars.  The volume ends in 1975, with the fisherman characters and the changing nature of the fishery filled out.  The story is timeless and well told.  Plucky, rebellious young man leaves home to follow a dream despite parental opposition.   Gradually he finds his sea legs and charts his course.  Gradually he becomes part of a dynamic close knit community.  A viking-like adventurous lifestyle is portrayed and a bit romanticized.  Fishermen competing among themselves and then bonding together as a group, lobbying government to protect their interests and limit foreign fishing.  The story builds on its own with little need for gratuituous language.  The rhythm of the sea underlies every chapter and although the characters are fictional the times they occupy are factual.  A must read for all salty fish lovers because it defines fishing commercial fishing in Alaska.  The last frontier.

Alaska, Books, Velkommen

Walking Home

No Comments 15 January 2013

Walking Home is required reading for boaters, hikers and all those tuned toward wilderness adventure and the solitary introspection it provides.  Lynn Schooler’s writing is delicious.

It’s the spring of 2007.  Small changes are growing too large to ignore.  The mirror reflects youth and vigor, while the newspaper photo shows age advancing with wrinkles and gray.  An overarching force is moving.  It demands recognition, but doesn’t say when. Some things on the forever list need to happen now or not at all.

Begin and end at Lituya Bay. Hike around Mount Fairweather. Physically challenging and mentally focusing. The individual requires companions to mirror thoughts; to sharpen and steel the mind, lest it run amuck and race toward the void. After long miles, the companions are Beauty and Pain. They spar as they search for a grand design.  Two deaths repeat the duality of Beauty and Pain.  Markers beside the trail:  a close friend and a marriage.

Lituya Bay is a place I dream of visiting.  My time for aggressive hiking is gone, but magical places will always exert their pull.  And Lituya Bay must have BIG Magic.  Mout Fairweather, perhaps more.  An incredible place for an adventure, a journey into history, into nature and into the soul.  They are as different as they are the same.  Just read the book. You can thank me later.

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Click the front cover to see the back.

Alaska, Books, Velkommen

Journeys through the Inside Passage

No Comments 03 November 2012

Here’s a book that should be required reading, not only for those interested in the Inside Passage, but for all aficionados of good writing.  At first, I was confused by the format of ot the book:  Little vignettes of Joe’s personal experiences, then history lessons surrounding the same location along with legends passed down by old timers.  Often, this format does not work very well.  It can be jarring and disconnected.  That’s what I expected….DANG, was I ever wrong.

The entire length of the Inside Passage, from Seattle to Skagway, is Joe Upton’s poem.  Like you might imagine the ancestral stories of a native people passed down for generations.   Journeys Through the Inside Passage cannot be captured with a clever word or phrase.  Joe Upton paints a picture with his words.  He shows a sea with without eyes and conscience, only rhythm.  Ebb and flow, storm and calm.  A piece of music.  He illustrates the lives that sway to this rhythm:  A melody.  Each chapter is a movement in a symphony.

Totally marvelous – highest praise.

Click the front cover to see the back.

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