Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush” as Want to Read:
The Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  133 ratings  ·  23 reviews
In 1897 a grimy steamer docked in Seattle and set into epic motion the incredible succession of events that Pierre Berton's exhilarating The Klondike Fever chronicles in all its splendid and astonishing folly. For the steamer Portland bore two tons of pure Klondike gold. And immediately, the stampede north to Alaska began. Easily as many as 100,000 adventurers, dreamers, a ...more
Paperback, 494 pages
Published December 17th 2003 by Basic Books (first published 1958)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Klondike Fever, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Klondike Fever

Love and Other Games by Ana BlazeThe Champion in all of Us by Steve BackleyThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsBaby Doll Games by Margaret MaronThe Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
Olympic Titles
13th out of 65 books — 13 voters
Peter Pan by J.M. BarrieThe Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix PotterThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisAmadeus by Peter ShafferThe Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
For Pete's Sake ...
298th out of 315 books — 38 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 278)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Beth Cato
I bought this book so I could read up on Alaskan history before our cruise this summer, and I was worried I made a poor choice. Klondike Fever is a brick of a book at about 450 pages. If it was in hardcover, I could use it as a weapon. It was also written back in the 1950s. I started reading, already half expecting to find it to be a dry, dull read not worthy of finishing.

Wow, was I wrong.

The book is extremely long, true, but Berton's storytelling prowess is absolutely engaging. He knows his stu
This is the sort of book that makes fiction seem uninspired and boring. How could anything imagined compare to the reality of the Alaskan wilderness in the 1800s? The immensity of the peril facing anyone who journeyed to the Alaskan wilderness in the 1800s is difficult to comprehend from our cushy modern perspective. But Berton does an amazing job of making it all incredibly real.

Berton does a ton of research and puts it all to good use. He paints a picture of the Alaskan outback before the gold
This is likely to be one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. More than anything else, the stories of these men and women seeking gold on the Klondike are incredibly entertaining in their own right. They could not make a movie about this era because it is just that unbelievable. Breton weaves all the incredible tales together in a near-flawless narrative, with little to no unnecessary dalliances and not a single paragraph you'll want to skim. This is not like all those academic histor ...more
"This electrifying account brings the glory and folly of the Yukon gold mania to life in vivid and authentic detail. Relying on the Klondikers' journals and letters, shipping records, newspaper accounts, and even interviews with gold rush survivors, Pierre Berton, whose own father crossed the Chilkoot Pass in 1898, recounts the individual tragedies and successes of dozens of dreamers, adventurers, innocents, and desperadoes."

"The story winds through the saloons and dance halls of the lawless tow
Jason Slemons
its roughly chronological, and it can take a little getting into. I wasn't expecting much but its actually really good and really interesting.
Expert work of literary nonfiction. Paints a full tapestry of the time: places and people, successes and failures. More than anything this book is a sensitive and intimate look at the variety of characters involved, and the legacy they left.
This is a very good history of the gold rush to Alaska in the late 1800s. The author interviewed persons that had been there during that time and newspaper accounts from around the world.
Great history of the Alaskan gold rush, richly told.
Another history book read in my search for well-written history. I really enjoyed this one. It's not complicated; it's a lively narrative history of the Klondike gold rush. This is the kind of non-fiction that reads so well I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone interested in the topic. I plan on passing this one on to my dad.
I read this book before my 4 night/5 day backcountry hike along the Chilkoot Trail that goes from Dyea Alaska (near Skagway) and Bennett, British Columbia. It gave me a real sense for what the Klondike Gold Rush was like. Methodically researched and written in elegant prose, it's historical narrative at its finest!
A well-done work on all aspects of the 1897-98 Klondike gold rush by a writer who himself grew up in Dawson City. Berton takes as his source primarily the journalism of the day, but manages to write a detailed and convincing narrative despite the fact that so many of his sources were suspect.
I read this book after visiting Alaska on a cruise ship. Very readable and enjoyable book about a fascinating episode in history. Probably similar to the general tale of any gold rush, but the extreme remote location of the Klondike lead to extreme actions and conditions.
John Fulcoly
This is the first book in 10 years I'm going to stop reading. Every sentence is a chore - over burdened with adjectives and superlatives. Everything is chopped up and fragmented so much that I'm losing touch with a cohesive story.
Rick McNeely
A harrowing account of Gold Fever, and human nature at its best/worst. This is the kind of history book that makes people love history. Berton's descriptions of the hostile natural world the gold-seekers encountered are first-rate.
Joshua Horn
A good account of the Gold Rush and it's personalities. It is easy to read and engaging. The author was the son of one of the stampeeders who stayed around, so his son grew up amongst the places he would write about. A few good book.
Mike Hailey
The most fascinating book on the Klondike Gold Rush (1896?) that I have ever read! Couldn't put it down once I got started, and have read it a few more times (cover to cover) since. You won't be disappointed.
Fantastic. A huge, sprawling adventure covering thousands of miles and hundreds of human dramas, exhaustively researched and very well-told. I'm definitely going to dig in to more of Berton's work.
Jeff Sessions
This book had tons and tons of info but the author jumped round alot. It really gave me a good perspective of this particular goldrush. I liked it.
Rita Jean
Very good storytelling from someone who was born in the Klondike.
So much information in this Book. It's amazing!!!
Jason Beck
Fabulous read. Truly an amazing story superbly told.
through edmonton, canada
Nov 06, 2008 Sprizee marked it as to-read
Purchased from the Goodwill
Amanda marked it as to-read
Dec 06, 2014
Joelle marked it as to-read
Nov 29, 2014
Lone Alaskan Gypsy
Lone Alaskan Gypsy marked it as to-read
Nov 28, 2014
Kallie marked it as to-read
Nov 20, 2014
Will Member
Will Member marked it as to-read
Nov 19, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Thuggin In Miami (The Family Is Made : Part 1)
  • The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream
  • The Thousand-Mile War: World War II in Alaska and the Aleutians
  • Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush: A Secret History of the Far North
  • The Poker Bride: The First Chinese in the Wild West
  • Maharaja: The lives, loves and intrigues of the Maharajas of India
  • In the Shadow of Denali: Life and Death on Alaska's Mt. McKinley
  • Plain Tales from the Raj
  • Working on the Edge: Surviving In the World's Most Dangerous Profession: King Crab Fishing on Alaska's High Seas
  • Forgotten Voices Of The Great War
  • The Turkish Embassy Letters
  • Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities
  • The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic
  • The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples
  • Women of the Raj
  • Men to Match My Mountains: The Opening of the Far West 1840-1900
  • The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations
  • Gold Diggers: Striking it Rich in the Klondike
From narrative histories and popular culture, to picture and coffee table books to anthologies, to stories for children to readable, historical works for youth, many of his books are now Canadian classics.

Born in 1920 and raised in the Yukon, Pierre Berton worked in Klondike mining camps during his university years. He spent four years in the army, rising from private to captain/instructor at the
More about Pierre Berton...
The Secret World of Og Vimy Klondike: The Last Great Gold Rush, 1896-1899 The Invasion of Canada: 1812-1813 The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the Northwest Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909

Share This Book