Thursday, April 24, 2014

Aunt Phil's Trunk by Laurel Bill & Phyllis Downing Carlson

Book Description

Volume 1 kicks off the series by showcasing the arrival of Alaska Natives thousands of years ago. Anthropologists theorize the Natives traveled from Asia across the Bering Sea Land Bridge and settled in various parts of Alaska. Stories in this section include mighty shaman, mysterious petroglyphs and fierce battles against Russian fur traders, who arrived in the mid-1700s.

After Alaska became a possession of the United States in 1867, Americans began streaming into the Last Frontier. Explorers, businessmen, miners and crooks came north and changed Alaska forever. The discovery of gold brought even more people. 


I have never enjoyed reading history so much! This first volume had so many stories in it that I have never even heard of that I had such a great time reading. I even reread a few of them to my young daughters. Anyone who enjoys learning about our history, about the past, or just other cultures will LOVE this series! This first volume draws you in with the mysterious missing Eskimo people, makes you think of the Aztec right?, and continues to tell tales of the spiritualism that was just fantastic. I have to say the story of Sha-E-Dah Kla is my favorite, be sure to check it out. Spiritualistic and Shamanistic healing stories were just amazing, and just not something you read about unless it is a paranormal fiction. So to read about them as first hand experiences that happened to real people was enthralling for me. The stories continue and draw you into the Alaskan history telling of the wars and goldrush. Things you had never read before or never heard so much about, and as if the stories weren't enough she has these amazing pictures to bring out what she is telling you. I believe even if you aren't a history buff you would be able to enjoy this book. It reads more like a story book rather than a history book or school book. It is engaging and so full of information, it just isn't work to read. I can't wait to find out what is in volume 2! 

Author Laurel Bill

Born in Fairbanks in 1951, I grew up with four siblings and learned the art of negotiation at a young age! My father, a civil engineer, took the family on a tour of the world through the jobs he accepted - including stints in Cameroon and Liberia, West Africa, Tanzania, East Africa, and Bandung, Indonesia.
I graduated from Baleares International High School in Mallorca, Spain, in 1969, attended a year of college at the American College of Switzerland in Leysin, and then returned to Alaska to carry on my life as an adult ... after all, I was 19 and knew everything, right?
Fast forward 30 years, a wonderful husband, three terrific children and an awesome life in the remote Alaska village of King Salmon to a much-anticipated life of leisure enjoying retirement in a condo in Anchorage.
Or so I thought. The reality was that my Alaska historian aunt, Phyllis Downing Carlson, left behind countless newspaper clips, research and rare Alaska history books when she died in 1993. My sister handed them off to me.
As I sifted through her work and saw the many national awards she had received for her articles about Alaska's colorful past, I knew I had to bring the stories to light for the world.
I returned to college to get the tools needed for the big project ahead and graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2003 with honors and a degree in journalism, a minor in history.
The series was born in July 2002 as a weekly newspaper column in The Anchorage Chronicle. The short stories soon became one of the most popular features in the paper. They continue to be printed today in the monthly newspaper, The Senior Voice.
After receiving such an enthusiastic response to tales of Alaska's days gone by, I turned my attention to developing the state's history from thousands of years ago - when the Native people first arrived in the country - up to the present.
Then I searched through the archives of museums, libraries and universities around the country to find historical photographs to help tell the stories. I found so many photographs and wonderful stories that my plan for one book has turned into several volumes. And my desire to share Alaska's history has turned into a passion.

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