Sunday, May 23, 2010


Back in March when I completed reading Sarah Palin's book Going Rogue, I commented in my blog post that I wanted to read a little more about Alaska. One of my goals this year is to follow up and read more about subjects that I encounter in the books that I read or as I go about my daily life. Many times as I'm reading a book, I'll think "wow, that's interesting, I should read more about that when I'm done with this book." However, I have never been very intentional about following up . . . until now.

I checked out two books about Alaska from the junior section of our local library. I basically just wanted to learn a little more about Alaska and its history. I read The Alaska Purchase in American History by David K. Fremon and Alaska by Donna Walsh Shepherd written as part of the "America the Beautiful" series.

The first book really talked more about the history of Alaska before and at the time it was acquired by the United States in 1867. I thought it was a little boring but very informative of that time period when the Alaska territory belonged to Russia. I found the second book more interesting as it briefly covered quite a few topics about Alaska: history, government, people, natural resources, arts, etc. This book also included photos of Alaska.

I actually learned quite a bit from these books that I didn't know, or at least that I didn't remember from those long ago history classes. I'm not sure if I just wasn't paying much attention (history was never my favorite subject!) or if we simply never got up to the "modern" day information or maybe a combination of both these reasons.

Some interesting things I learned or was reminded of as I read:
  • The US acquired Alaska from Russia.
  • Alaska didn't become a state until 1959 - it was the 49th state.
  • Alaska contains the "only U.S. land ever to be occupied by a foreign government during war" as the Attu and Kiska Islands were occupied by the Japanese during World War II.
  • It is light all day and night during the summer (I did remember this :>).
  • I know that Alaska is the largest state, however I didn't realize that it ranked 49th in population. (These books are about ten years old, so I checked on the intenet and it has moved up to 47th in rank for population.)
  • Alaska covers several climatic and geographical regions.
Alaska looks like a beautiful state from all the pictures I've ever seen, but it also looks VERY COLD - definitely not for me. I would love to make a summer time visit there someday.

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