Call of the Klondike by David Meissner and Kim Richardson


The Plot (in 5 sentences or less):  This nonfiction book follows the journey of two young men, Marshall Bond and Stanley Pearce, as they journey into the Klondike during the gold rush.  Starting in the summer of 1897, they make the decision to head for British Columbia only a few hours after gold rumors began flying.  Sailing to Skaguay, Alaska by ship, the men put together an outfit and journey over the White Horse Trail, over several lakes, and into the waters of the Yukon River.  They arrive in Dawson City in the fall, build a cabin, make connections and begin doing the hard work of staking and working a mining claim.


My Take:  I was impressed by the use of primary source material, the letters of Bond and Pierce, throughout the book.  Selected passages from the letters are interesting and understandable to modern younger readers.  The authors’ own writings that are interspersed between the letters adds a fuller picture of the arduous Klondike journey.  The generous amount of photographs and maps also add to the appeal.  I would absolutely recommend this book to younger readers interested in the gold rush of the late 1890’s.  Ages 12+


One Interesting Note About the Author(s):  Kim Richardson is the great-great-grand nephew of Stanley Pearce.   In the summer of 2010, David Meissner retraced some of the journey of Bond and Pearce into the Klondike.  He stated that “every step of the trail made me appreciate the toughness of these stampeders.”