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3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,945 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
He was born in the swamps of the Eastern States, but he came of age on the frontier. Now, Jean LaFarge finds himself swept up in an epic battle in the wilds of Alaska, where a tyranical Russian has seized control of the fur trade-and the land. But Jean has never backed down from a fight, even one as bold and dangerous as this-a battle that will shape the future of America.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Signet (first published 1957)
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Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it
The United States purchased the land of Alaska in 1867, what some called Seward’s Folly. Western writer Louis L’Amour wrote his novel Sitka about events leading up to this purchase in 1957.

This is early L’Amour and his writing seems influenced by and reminiscent of Twain or Dickens. This is a bildungsroman about Jean LaBarge and his progression towards mastery in Alaska from very humble beginnings in the Susquehanna swamps.

LaBarge is an archetypal L’Amour protagonist: tough, resilient, capable,
Henry Avila
An orphan lives in a swamp, near the Susquehanna River, making a meager living selling herbs in the local village.His mother has died and the father becomes a mountain man, in the wilds of the Rockies.Jean LaBarge, has only one friend Rob Walker, a shy little boy from a good family.Who of course, don't want their son hanging around with a worthless kid ,who's mother is rumored to have been a gypsy!A group of thieves return to the area.Planning to rob and kill Captain Hutchins, a wealthy merchant ...more
Sep 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, western
I launched into Sitka mere hours after finishing The Walking Drum, as I couldn't accept the idea that the adventure was over and immediately craved more of Louis L'Amour's unique blend of action, intrigue, and history. Having already gone into some depth on his style and ability as both a writer and storyteller in my review of The Walking Drum, I won't do so as much here; however, if any clarification is needed, I recommend checking out both the review and the book.

This novel brings the reader b
Benjamin Thomas
Jean Labarge, an orphan born in the swamps of the Susquehanna and a regular dabbler in adventures of all sorts, has long dreamed of the West, and especially the promise of the Alaskan wilderness. As his story unfolds, we get to watch him live out his dream, growing into a rugged fur trapper, merchant sea captain, and eventually becoming a pivotal force in the US’s purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. Along the way, he meets and falls in love with none other than the beautiful (but already mar ...more
Alisha Kennedy
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Best writer of all time of frontier stories. Who wouldn't dream of a man such as Labarge. An honest man who helped bring in Alaska to the States. Louis Lamore writes as if he lived these stories. Loved it!
Jun 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Book club selection for July. I'm trying to keep an open mind, but my expectations are quite low for an adventure novel written by the King of Pulp in 1957, when men were men and women were, well, mostly props.


I'm embarrassed about how grumpy I was when faced with reading this book. I certainly wouldn't have chosen it on my own, but I was pleasantly surprised by it, especially the second half, which focused more on the purchase of Alaska from Russia. This first half is more of a standard a
May 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: L'Amour fans and western readers
Jean LaBarge raised himself, in the outback of Pennsylvania in the mid 1800s, until good luck and a merchant he happened to help changed his life. Decades later he is an expert in the wilds of the West, and in the ballrooms of San Francisco. Then Alaska puts its stamp on him, and he will risk everything for its people, including a lovely woman.

While not a sailor by any means, I found some of the events in the Alaskan channels have imprinted themselves on my memory.

I recently read the beginning o
Ryan Miller
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it
My first L'Amour book--he is a master storyteller, weaving compelling narrative with interesting characters that seem to have multiple dimensions. L'Amour even moves away from some stereotypes when describing the Tlingits of southeast Alaska (where I lived for several years), but he doesn't move far enough away. First Nations people are described as naturally warlike and easily persuaded by simple gifts. While his characterization was detailed for his main protagonists and antagonists, no First ...more
E. Newby
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've never much cared for L'Amour's work, but having grown up in Alaska, and having found this book for 25 pennies, I was curious about this story of back home. It was a pretty good yarn, steeped in historic events, and his descriptions of the coasts and woodlands brought back memories. My only real complaint about this story was that it felt rushed. Entire passages that spanned months, and contained vital information for the plots, were given little more than a half page treatment.
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I first read this when it first came out in the mid 80’s and read it a few times over the years. Unfortunately, it got lost in a move over ten years ago and as I am trekking back through all of my Louis L’Amour titles, I was disappointed to know this one was not on Kindle. Now that it was released in the Kindle version this summer, I promptly pre-ordered it and waited…it was well worth the wait.

This is not your typical Louis L’Amour western, and it is more of a historical fiction novel that teac
Patricia Goodman
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
An exciting story of Jean LaBarge from childhood through his adventures in CA, Alaska, and Siberia. A bit of adventure, romance, history.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Took this on as a challenge to read a Louis L'Amour book after finishing the biographical book the Education of a Wandering Man. Dipped into several before settling on this one. So far so good. This is an excellent story -- a little bit of everything: adventure, romance, war and peace, sailing, trapping and selling -- something for everyone.
Joed Jackson
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: louis-l-amour
A first rate adventure yarn. I've read some of his stuff I liked more but you really cant go wrong with LL.
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: louis-l-amour
Sitka is one of three Louis L'Amour books published in 1957 and the 12th book of his I've read in my quest to read them all them by year of publication.

Sitka is a bit different from the typical L'Amour book that I've read so far. Up until now most of L'Amour's stories have taken place in the US Southwest and follows the pattern of a tall dark stranger rides into town, suffers some injustice and commences to, with either fists, six-guns a blazing or both send the bad guys on their way all while w
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This is not your typical Lamour western. The middle of the story did not excite me, but the last quarter of the book became exciting and I couldn't put it down. Read it if you love Lamour!
Nikki Jefford
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Quite the adventure!

I enjoyed the early American, Russian, and Alaskan history. I was born and raised in Anchorage and know very little about southeast. The story and characters were engaging, the descriptions of land, sea, and climate stunning.

For a book titled “SITKA”, it took a long time to reach land ho – not until halfway through the book. I was hoping for more land-based action, but most of the story took place in San Francisco or at sea.

What tripped me up the most were the constant POV ju
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Louis L'Amour never lets down! This is a great read! Full of adventure, history and romance. Want a little of American/Russian history, how we got Alaska- a short history lesson in a great story-the best part of historical fiction! Yes, now I want to know more- that's what a great teacher does- inspires you to seek. As always the characters are awesome, the kind that make you want to be a better person- demonstrating the charactersitics of our American history heros-the kind of people who build ...more
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: westerns
I liked it. I like almost everything by this author. This story starts with a 14 year old boy growing up in the swampy eastern states (Jean LaBarge) and his friend (Rob Walker). Jean makes his way west and ends up in San Francisco and then Sitka. Rob continues his education and makes himself known in Washington, D.C. Jean has joined a fur trading company and is interested in expanding into Alaska but he has to get around Count Zinnovy to do it. He seems like a superman in dealing with the brigan ...more
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Unlike any other L'Amour novels that I have read. Actually had a little romance interweaved with the history of our purchase of Alaska from the Russians. This book is slightly reminiscent of Michener's style of writing about places and their history. However, Michener's books of his last three decades had little room for humor or romance. The only similarity to L'Amour's other 120 novels is the presence of a strong independent male hero. However, he does often take second seat to the main female ...more
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
WOW!! This was a fantastic book. One of Louis L'Amour's best. I read it in a week! and it's kind of long for a Louis L'Amour. Most of the time his books are much shorter. But it being long does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean lagging and boring. Every page is better then the last and you can't wait to finish it. I stayed up late last night reading the last 4 chapters. I just knew I couldn't go to bed until I had finished it. Jean LaBarge is a fantastic hero, strong, moral, noble, ki ...more
For literary style this novel only gets two stars. But I was in the mood for an old-fashioned tale and since I will be visiting Sitka next year, I wanted background on this part of Alaska. When I travel by small ship through the fjords, I will be thankful that there is no Russian ship chasing us! I just wish I knew how much was true and what was fictional. Learned that Rob Walker really was a senator who did much to influence the purchase of Alaska from Russia. Count Rotcheff and his wife Helena ...more
Perrin Pring
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it
So, I guess I'd categorize this as 'frontier romance'. This is the first (and it's probably last) Louis L'Amour book I've read. Overall, it's an escape. Follow the ruggedly hansom leading man as he fights and traps his way West then up to Alaska, and ultimately to Russia. There's an unattainable Russian Princess, an evil Baron, snow, ship-based adventures, Indians, escaped convicts, desire, and sunsets. Each plot point is predictable and perfectly lucky, and in the end the leading man gets his w ...more
This is one of my favorites of Louis L'Amour's novels...though its scope is very broad, and some have complained that the plot is too think and the characters improbable, I is a novel, not history. I've always been fascinated by Alaska, and in my younger years hoped to live and work there (my wife put an end to those ideas LOL). Sitka revolves around Seward's Folly, the purchase of the Alaskan territory, and evokes the grandeur of the wide open spaces of a new land. Just thinking ab ...more
Jan 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-read, alaska, russia
I liked the beginning but it drug on a little long until we get to a grown up Jean LaBarge. L'Amour writes great action stories and there was quite a few times I didn't want to set the book down. I also like how LaBarge respects the marriage between Helena and the Count. I like that this is considered a Western and yet it's more a sea tale set between San Francisco and Russian Alaska with trips through Siberia and Czar Alexander's Court. This is just another book that shows that you really can't ...more
Ruthie Jones
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ruthie by: Joyce Abell
What a rousing adventure story from start to finish! Louis L'Amour is noted for writing westerns, but Sitka doesn't necessarily fall into that category. This story has it all: sea adventure, land adventure, outlaws and theives, high speed chases, duels, a frame tale of sorts, Alaska, and political as well as international intrigue. The hero, Jean LaBarge, seems a little too perfect, but I guess heroes sometimes are. Louis L'Amour's writing style is extremely poetic, and he makes the adventure co ...more
Jan 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
I needed a book while traveling on the Alaska Marine Highway, so I picked this up in the gift shop on the ferry. I read a lot of Louis L'Amour books when I was younger and remember really enjoying them and this one about the Alaskan Frontier seemed promising. However, it was so poorly written that it was almost painful to read. In a career where he produced more than one-hundred written works from 1950 to 1987, L'Amour finished this one in 1957. Sitka read like it was written by a fourteen year ...more
Sep 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: westerns
This fictional account of the Alaska Purchase was written during the Cold War and of course the Americans are all heroes and everyone is ecstatic that the terribly cruel Russians no longer own Alaska but now it is free. For a more realistic fictional account read James A Michener's Alaska
Other than that not a bad yarn
Jun 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy reading historical fiction, as it may be my favorite type to read. My father recommended Sitka and enlighten me with talk of princesses in the book. Being the happily ever after reader that I am, I had to read the book. Needless to say, I couldn't put it down. I fell in love with the characters, the quest for the United States to purchase Alaska and for the romance. Such a great read and a must for history buffs!
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I inherited a bunch of L'Amour books from my grandfather when he passed nearly a decade ago. He was a simple American farmer and these books suited his personality to be sure. Once a year or so I take one from the shelf and plow through it. They make me feel good...they speak to a simpler time that I think we all wish to experience from time to time. As L'amour books go, this was one of the best. A fictional history breathed to life. A nice simple place to be temporarily transported.
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Louis L'Amour was an American author. L'Amour's books, primarily Western fiction, remain enormously popular, and most have gone through multiple printings. At the time of his death all 101 of his works were in print (86 novels, 14 short-story collections and one full-length work of nonfiction) and he was considered "one of the world's most popular writers".
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“Strange how it was always the spoiled who weakened and cried first, and it was the injured, the maimed, the blind, and the poor who fought on alone.” 16 likes
“Strange how it was always the spoiled who weakened and cried first, and it was the injured, the maimed, the blind, and the poor who fought on alone. Perhaps” 1 likes
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