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In a Far Country: The True Story of a Mission, a Marriage, a Murder, and the Remarkable Reindeer Rescue of 1898
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In a Far Country: The True Story of a Mission, a Marriage, a Murder, and the Remarkable Reindeer Rescue of 1898

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  105 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
In the fall of 1897, eight whaling ships became trapped in the ice on Alaska's northern coast. Without relief, two hundred whalers would starve to death by winter's end. Mercifully, an extraordinary missionary, Tom Lopp, and seven Eskimo herders embarked on a harrowing journey to save the whalers, driving four hundred reindeer more than seven hundred untracked miles. At th ...more
Paperback, 424 pages
Published November 13th 2007 by PublicAffairs (first published November 20th 2006)
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Nov 15, 2015 Unwisely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started out so interesting that I missed my stop. The background of the missionaries dividing up Alaska, how the reindeer idea came into being, all of that was fascinating. Life in the missions was also pretty interesting.

The actual trek and ending was less interesting to me than the beginning, since I have read a few arctic travel books in my day. The whalers camp stuff was almost distracting, since it seemed less detailed than the rest of it.

A very strong first half, which somewhat
Apr 30, 2016 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: alaska
Interesting subject (missionaries/school teachers in remote Alaskan village, late 19th century) but could have used a good editor; this book would be more interesting (to me anyway) at half its length. Still, I learned about the attempt to introduce raindeer ("imported" from Siberia) to Alaska. The focus of the book, Tom and Ellen Lopp, were an extraordinary couple, with great respect for the locals with whom they lived for many years. They had a strong belief that education and job opportunitie ...more
Mark Valentine
Mar 14, 2016 Mark Valentine rated it really liked it
I did not think that I would be interested in this history, but I read it over three days and was consumed by it. Even though the murder happened 100 pages or so into the history and I asked myself, What will sustain my interest now? But Taliaferro writes in such an engaging, intelligent way that I could not let the story drop.

If you want to read an unusual book that has a great many variables, impossible situations, superhuman courage as an everyday event, I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Artemis Nitzband
Mar 17, 2010 Artemis Nitzband rated it it was amazing
This man and his wife live in 1890's Alaska and experience see through the eyes of non-natives. The book is fascinating... whaling and mining industries and its impact on the natives in Alaska at that time. The Lopps, stationed in a town along the Bering Strait, are missionaries who set out to bring Christianity to the natives of Alaska but end up learning more from the natives over their 12 or so years while stationed there. In spite of the COLD conditions, lack of even the basics,lack of commu ...more
Oct 01, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it
Kind of long-winded in parts but a very interesting read on the "settling" of Alaska, colonialism, reindeer, Eskimos, American history, and of course a badass rescue mission.
Ellen MY
Jan 31, 2015 Ellen MY rated it it was amazing
I enjoy this genre and I stumbled across this really interesting and offbeat tale
Jun 21, 2014 Jane rated it really liked it
Great true story of an unbelievable 1890's journey in the far north of Alaska and the heroic people that made it possible.
Great book - true story, about a missionary couple in northeast Alaska and their experiences. The main story is of herding reindeer to whalers whose ships were frozen in the ice above the arctic circle, but there is so much more to this book. The author has researched documents such as letters, journals, and newspaper articles from the time, as well as government reports.
Jun 21, 2008 Kathy rated it liked it
The "mission", "marriage" and "murder" were all quite interesting and I really enjoyed reading about Tom & Ella Lopp and their family living in one of the most frigid and remote places on earth at the end of the nineteenth century. But the reindeer rescue which--filled in the final half of the book--just went on too long and I didn't find it all that fascinating.
Jan 13, 2009 Shincrackerfarm rated it it was amazing
Talliaferro has done an excellent job of weaving excitement, emotions, terror, anger, frustration and romance into a carefully told documentary. Photographs are very complimentary to the story, and the background information the author has included is more than enhancing of the excitement and wonder of this epic story.
Aug 27, 2008 Katie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Alaska
Recommended to Katie by: Cindy Dillard, Scotty's mom
This book is well written and is a true story that really helped me to gain some understanding about Alaskan history. It is amazing what the people in this book were able to accomplish in their time. Parts of the book read like a novel, and parts read like a history book, but overall it was quite interesting and enjoyable.
Jun 22, 2009 Jenny rated it liked it
This is a great story about amazing people that have been forgotten by history. I love reading books like this. I think the book is well written. As far as striking a balance between exciting adventure story and history text, the book tends towards historical scholarship, but I didn't mind that.
Aug 24, 2013 Diane rated it really liked it
Very interesting history of a couple who went to Alaska as missionaries to convert the Indian tribes of Alaska. It was very enlightening and I'm glad that I didn't have to live back then. Even in the late 1890's the people expected the government to bail them out when they made stupid choices.
Aug 04, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
A wonderful narrative of adventure, commerce, faith, and devotion in Alaska at the close of the nineteenth century. I used this book for reading analysis in a graduate-level education course at Christopher Newport University.
Feb 04, 2008 Mom added it
The story of the Lopp family and their experiences in northern Alaska has much to teach us about how we handle the people we come across in our lives and the respect that we should have for other cultures.
Jan 16, 2012 Jerilyn rated it liked it
Like it very uch. Much admiration for Tom Lopp and the native Alaskans in his story. The other Americans, not so much. Corruption in business and Congress are nothing new.
Quite an adventure. Really enjoyed the descriptions of the country and the people. Will be going to Alaska later this year and I will certainly have a "feel" for the country!
Nov 10, 2010 Bethann rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-books-read
Okay I tried to read this. But it lacked something did not finish it. I realized this is a non fiction work but the writing just didn't make the characters interesting
Dec 03, 2011 James rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
The author brilliantly evokes in the reader the mind numbing boredom of the traveling thousands of kilometers in the arctic wilderness in winter. Masterful.
Jonathan Lynn
Feb 15, 2014 Jonathan Lynn rated it really liked it
Great untold story of the early missionaries to the great North!
Gets a little laboriously long at times.
Nov 29, 2013 Carla rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Had trouble getting into it, couldn't finish....was trying to read it because someone else wanted me to.
Jul 06, 2013 Yolanda rated it it was ok
Having a difficult time connecting emotionally so far. Must give it more of a chance.
Shawn Simmons
Feb 02, 2013 Shawn Simmons rated it liked it
A very interesting tale of Alaska and reindeer.
Victoria Boyne
Jan 07, 2008 Victoria Boyne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
so far very interesting...
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Hollis J.
Hollis J. rated it really liked it
Jul 06, 2016
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