Denison's Ice Road


237 pages
Contains Photos, Maps
ISBN 1-55017-041-4
DDC 917.1'93





Reviewed by Susan Perks

Susan Perks, formerly a teacher and librarian, is a travel agent in
Thompson, Manitoba.


John Denison and his crew waited for the coldest and darkest days of
winter every year to set out to build a 520 km road, made of ice and
snow, from Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories to a silver mine on
Great Bear Lake. Denison has a reputation for “going anyplace to make
a road.” They endure savage blizzards and blinding whiteouts. In the
60o-below-zero temperatures, “steel axles snap like twigs, brakes and
steering wheels seize up, and bare hands freeze when they touch
metal.” One wonders why anyone would ever want to endure such

Iglauer was the first outsider to accompany the crew while they worked.
She has published articles in various magazines. This adventure started
initially as an assignment for The New Yorker magazine. The full story
became this book, which includes 32 of her own photographs. Looking at
the photos helps the reader to visualize the conditions there, and
Iglauer presents an interesting narrative with good character
descriptions. It is a fascinating account, and the reader gains a newer
respect and understanding of those who work in the far North. I highly
recommend it for high-school and public libraries, and for anyone
interested in the North.


Iglauer, Edith., “Denison's Ice Road,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,