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Minter, Roy.

Foreword by Pierre Berton. Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1987. 394pp, cloth, 529.95, ISBN 0-7710-6055-6. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Alan Thomas

Volume 16 Number 3
1988 May

The White Pass and Yukon Railway was built between 1898 and 1900 through the mountain barrier between the sea and the Klondike gold-fields. This history by a former vice-president of the company tells a careful and detailed story of the construction of the railway. The line was built with English financing by American and Canadian engineers and hundreds of labourers, many of whom had originally journeyed to the northwest as gold-rushers with dreams of fortune. Thirty-five men died during the construction.

As history, the book is partial: the reader is invited to regard opposition from the point of view of (he builders. But it is not noticeably unfair, though one might like to know more about the failure of an alternative all-Canadian route. The strike of 1899 is also superficially treated. But it is a tribute to the author's thoroughness that these phenomena are brought forward sufficiently to inspire curiosity.

The personalized and popular style of this history will perhaps best serve students by stimulating interest in dramatic episodes of the gold rush. The overthrow of the reign of Soapy Smith in Skagway is an excellent example. Senior students in history will also be made aware of the material interests involved.

There is a bibliography, notes, index, maps and historic photographs of the line under construction.

Alan Thomas, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.
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