They were hardy and venturesome souls, the men and women who went to Alaska in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They climbed glaciers in hobnailed boots, fended for survival as they crossed torrential rivers, abandoned loved ones and squandered lifesavings in a mad rush to the goldfields. On returning home, they were besieged with requests to write about their wilderness adventures. The resulting narratives painted a picture of a place at once beautiful and demanding—yet serenely indifferent—and helped shape a national vision of Alaska that persists today. In Pursuit of Alaska presents twenty-seven of the best of their accounts.
Jean Morgan Meaux lived in Anchorage from 1971 until 1985 and, while freelancing for the Anchorage Daily News, began work on this book. After attending Tulane Law School, she stayed in Louisiana to raise her three children and to practice family law. In 2009, she opened the cardboard box containing her Alaska manuscript and began writing again. She now lives in the Louisiana countryside with her husband, a retired pediatrician turned heirloom vegetable grower. Her greatest love, second only to her family, is Alaska.