Real Alaskans: Men and Women Who Make the Great Land Great


224 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 0-88839-254-0
DDC 979.8'05'092




Reviewed by Jean Free

Jean Free, a library consultant, is a retired public-school teacher and
librarian in Whitby, Ontario.


“People go through changes when they go through challenges. They find
out how they respond when the pressure is on. They find out if they’ve
got what it takes,” writes Freedman in his biographical adventure
stories of male and female Alaskans.

Beginning with the five-part section “Pioneers of the Trail,”
Freedman writes of the famous runners of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog
Races (held annually in March). The dogs run 1100-plus miles from
Anchorage to Nome and, since 1988, women like Libby Riddle have won most
of the races. In “Mountain Highs,” Freedman writes of Roy Genet and
Art Davidson’s climb to the top of Mount McKinley. Part 5, “Through
the Eyes of Artists,” tells of photographer John Pezzenti’s pictures
of Arctic animals, and of painters Jon Zyle and Fred Machetanz.

Freedman is the award-winning sports editor of the Anchorage Daily
News. His dramatic writing style catches the excitement and emotions of
the sports fishing, cross-country ski races on the 210-mile Iditaski,
and wilderness flying. His love of Alaska and its beautiful, rugged
environment is evident in each of the 20 sketches he offers of its

Real Alaskans is a book about challenges, about “people who are at
one with the country” and who wish to keep their beautiful state for
the future. Its short chapters make inspiring reading for those who love
the outdoors.


Freedman, Lew., “Real Alaskans: Men and Women Who Make the Great Land Great,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024,