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Willis, Roxanne
Alaska's place in the West : from the last frontier to the last great wilderness / Roxanne Willis
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, c2010
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 3rd Floor  GE155.A4 W55 2010    AVAILABLE
Subject Alaska -- Environmental conditions
Alaska -- History
Subject(s) Frontier and pioneer life -- Alaska
Wilderness areas -- Alaska -- History
Nature -- Effect of human beings on -- Alaska -- History
Landscape changes -- Alaska -- History
Subject Alaska -- Public opinion
Subject(s) Public opinion -- United States
Regionalism -- West (U.S.) -- Case studies
Subject West (U.S.) -- Environmental conditions -- Case studies
Physical Description xi, 186 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. [167]-176) and index
Contents Introduction: a place for Alaska -- A new game in the north : Alaska Native reindeer herding -- Alaskan pastoral : the Matanuska Colony -- The road to nowhere : the Alaska Highway as a northern development project -- Alaska submerged : the Rampart Dam controversy -- A crack in the landscape : the trans-Alaska pipeline -- Epilogue: Alaska heats up
Summary "Alaska's story is usually confined to regional history books, and in many American history texts, the state simply disappears after the Klondike gold rush. Willis's book marks the first comprehensive examination of Alaskan development schemes from 1890 to the present, connecting these plans to the changing priorities of American culture and politics. She examines competing definitions of Alaska--from a 'Last Frontier' meant to be exploited to a 'Last Wilderness' to be protected at all costs--and explains how the contemporary Alaskan landscape is a result of this ongoing struggle to define this mythic state's place in the American West. Willis focuses on five historic battles between environmentalists and developers: the Alaska Native reindeer herding industry, the New Deal homesteader program in the Matanuska Colony, the construction of the Alaska Highway, the political dispute over the Rampart Dam, and the ongoing struggles over the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. She presents these case histories in clear language that will engage general readers while using new historical analysis that will appeal to scholars of environmental history and the American West. The result is an effective introduction to the historical origins of current political conflicts in Alaska. Transcending the typical regional histories of the state, Willis's study shows how Alaska development schemes have affected the history of American development more broadly, with conclusions that will be useful to anyone interested in environment and development issues in America or the circumpolar North--including a consideration of Alaska as the new frontier in global climate change. By showing why Alaska continues to resonate in the American imagination, Willis's book situates the forty-ninth state within the environmental movement, within the definition of the American West, and within American culture as a whole"--P. [2-3] of dust jacket

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