North to the Future: The Alaska Story, 1959-2009
Alaska became a state in 1959 after nearly a century of federal rule and domination by powerful mining, timber, and canned-salmon interests. At last the people of Alaska would direct their own destiny. But would they? In its first fifty years, Alaska's fate continued to be influenced by outside interests and unexpected events: Recognition of Alaska's strategic importance inspired a Cold War military buildup that shaped the early economy; Discovery of the largest oil field in North America lent urgency to proposals to settle Alaska's Native land claims and build the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, events that transformed Alaska; A growing environmental movement persuaded Congress to set aside 100 million acres of national park lands, wilderness areas, and wildlife refuges, leaving a residue of unresolved land-use issues. With clarity, wit, and appreciation for the contribution of everyday people, author Dermot Cole tells how Alaskans rolled up their sleeves to organize their news tate governement and how their dreams and reality often clashed in the decades to come.