Tip of the Iceberg

From the acclaimed, bestselling author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu, a fascinating and funny journey into Alaska, America's last frontier, retracing the historic 1899 Harriman Expedition.

In 1899, railroad magnate Edward H. Harriman organized a most unusual summer voyage to the wilds of Alaska: He converted a steamship into a luxury "floating university," populated by some of America's best and brightest scientists and writers, including the anti-capitalist eco-prophet John Muir. Those aboard encountered a land of immeasurable beauty and impending environmental calamity. More than a hundred years later, Alaska is still America's most sublime wilderness, both the lure that draws a million tourists annually on Inside Passage cruises and a natural resources larder waiting to be raided. As ever, it remains a magnet for weirdos and dreamers.

Armed with Dramamine and an industrial-strength mosquito net, Mark Adams sets out to retrace the 1899 expedition. Using the state's intricate public ferry system, the Alaska Marine Highway System, Adams travels three thousand miles, following the George W. Elder's itinerary north through Wrangell, Juneau, and Glacier Bay, then continuing west into the colder and stranger regions of the Aleutians and the Arctic Circle. Along the way, he encounters dozens of unusual characters (and a couple of very hungry bears) and investigates how lessons learned in 1899 might relate to Alaska's current struggles in adapting to climate change.

My Review

I have wanted to take an Alaskan cruise for a while but have not done so yet. After reading this book, my excitement to take that cruise has grown even more. It kind of was like I had taken one with Mr. Adams.

Mr. Adams did not just give me a bit of a history lesson but also an adventure that readers will want to experience for themselves. Yet, the beauty of Alaska can make you almost forget the dangers as well. Like the close encounter some fellow travelers had with a bear.

What I liked the most about this book is that I never got bored. I kept learning so many interesting facts. As Mr. Adams says don't wait to take your journey but pack your bags and go.


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