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Description - In a Far Country by John Taliaferro

In 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 humour, 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 Details

ISBN: 9781586485085
ISBN-10: 1586485083
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 140mm x 28mm)
Pages: 424
Imprint: PublicAffairs,U.S.
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 13-Nov-2007
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions - In a Far Country by John Taliaferro

Book Reviews - In a Far Country by John Taliaferro

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.

Books By John Taliaferro

All the Great Prizes by John Taliaferro
Paperback / softback, May 2014
Great White Fathers by John Taliaferro
Paperback, December 2003
Charles M. Russell by John Taliaferro