In a Far Country
The True Story of a Mission, a Marriage, a Murder and the Remarkable Reindeer Rescue of 1898
By (author) John Taliaferro
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In a Far Country by John Taliaferro
Book DescriptionIn the fall of 1897, eight whaling ships became trapped in the ice on Alaska's northern coast. Without relief, two hundred whalers would starve to death by winter's end. Mercifully, an extraordinary missionary, Tom Lopp, and seven Eskimo herders embarked on a harrowing journey to save the whalers, driving four hundred reindeer more than seven hundred untracked miles. At the heart of the rescue expedition lies another, in some ways more compelling, journey. In a Far Country is the personal odyssey of Tom and his wife Ellen Lopp-- their commitment to the natives and the rugged but happy life they built for themselves amid a treeless tundra at the top of the world. The Lopps pulled through on grit and wits, on humility and humor, on trust and love, and by the grace of God. Their accomplishment would surely have received broader acclaim had it not been eclipsed by two simultaneous events: the Spanish- American War and the Alaska gold rush. The United States and its territories were transformed abruptly and irrevocably by these fits of expansionist fever, and despite the thoughtful, determined guidance of the Lopps, the natives of the North were soon overwhelmed by a force mightier than the fiercest Arctic winter: the twentieth century.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781586485085
(210mm x 140mm x 28mm)
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 3-Jan-2008
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author John Taliaferro
Great White Fathers, Paperback (December 2003)
"John Taliaferro has done a brilliant job of making the carving of Mount Rushmore vivid for us today. The story is absorbing and the book is a wonderful read." Larry McMurtry, author of Lonesome Dove
Charles M. Russell, Paperback» View all books by John Taliaferro
This first comprehensive biography of Charles M. Russell examines the colorful life and times of Montana s famed Cowboy Artist. Born to an affluent St. Louis family in 1864, young Russell read thrilling tales of the West and filled sketchbooks with imagined frontier scenes."
US Kirkus Review » As the subtitle suggests, there are multiple threads to this well-documented account of courage and chicanery in the Arctic.Taliaferro (Tarzan Forever, 1999, etc.), a former senior editor at Newsweek, has packed his story with a host of vivid characters: dedicated and not-so-dedicated missionaries, wheelers and dealers, sea captains, politicos, stranded whalers, Lapp reindeer herders, goldminers and beleaguered Alaskan natives. Central to all this are the amazingly sturdy and resourceful Lopps, Tom and Ellen. Unfazed by the murder of another missionary, they try to bring both Christianity and a better life to the Alaskan natives around Cape Prince of Wales. Sheldon Jackson, the general agent for education in Alaska, had proposed importing trainable reindeer, along with Lapp reindeer herders, from Europe, at first to improve the lot of the caribou-hunting Alaskan natives, but later as part of a grand plan to provide mail service and transportation for white settlers. This plan was well under way when, in 1897, a group of whaling ships became ice-bound in the Arctic Ocean. With their crews believed to be on the brink of starvation, San Francisco newspapers demanded that the federal government act, and subsequently Treasury Secretary Gage authorized the captain of a Revenue Cutter Service ship to contact Lopp and persuade him to drive his large herd of reindeer several hundred miles north in the dead of winter to come to the aid of the whalers. Taliaferro weaves into one highly readable story the travails of this Overland Relief Expedition, the life of plucky Ellen Lopp and her ever-growing brood of little Lopps, the tale of the stranded but definitely not starving whalers and the concurrent gold rush that was to change Alaska forever.The grand but failed scheme to make reindeer the camels of the north is in itself a story that deserves to be better known, and Taliaferro does it justice. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - John Taliaferro
John Taliaferro is a former senior editor at Newsweek and the author of three acclaimed books, Great White Fathers: The Story of the Obsessive Quest to Create Mount Rushmore, Charles M. Russell: The Life and Legend of America's Cowboy Artist, and Tarzan Forever: The Life of Edgar Rice Burroughs. He lives in Pray, Montana, and Austin, Texas.
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