Other & miscellaneous

The Klondikers

Norman Handy

The Klondikers

Customer Ratings:

4 Stars
Life beyond the ordinary - 08.03.2018
Stuart Barnes

In writing this review I need to mention firstly that I know the author: Norman and I have cycled together, most notably on a 100-mile ride to and from Beachy Head, and occasionally taken part in short group walks, usually on the South Downs; and it was he who asked me to read his book and write a review. Norman is a remarkable man: he has the same passion for adventure and discovery that is evident in the explorers of an earlier age. I remember that Eric Shipton, author of A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, was described as being tremendously fit and muscular, and Norman has these attributes too: when not on his journeys he trains hard, walking, climbing, cycling, canoeing, horse-riding, and probably undertaking a number of other activities of which I am unaware, and so is much more capable of the physical effort required for trekking over wild country and mountains, and adventures in kayak and canoe at sea and along rivers, than most human beings. When he is not on one of his long expeditions he is preparing for the next one, as well of course as writing about the previous one.First impressions of the book were not all favourable: the publishers may well have felt the need to keep the costs down, so although the cover image is smart, there are no maps or pictures, and the font is probably a size too small. At first this delayed my reading the book, and it was not until I had purchased a stronger set of spectacles that I could comfortably read it! It appears also that the author has been let down by poor proofreading and editing, and in some parts of the book I imagined someone with a bucketful of commas throwing them at the text, and wherever they landed, there they stayed. The lack of maps did not pose a problem for me though, and I would recommend other readers doing what I did, which was to have Google/Bing Maps in satellite mode, so that I could follow Norman’s journeys. When he was describing a town in more detail I was usually able to go to Street View mode and see some of the places of interest that he was describing.Much more important though is the content, and this certainly makes for enjoyable and interesting reading. Firstly there is a history of the Klondike Gold Rush, with its larger-than-life characters and amusing and sometimes tragic incidents: but more arresting are the stories and descriptions of the hardships endured by those chasing fortunes, and the extreme difficulties that they faced on the long and arduous journey to the area. This provides an excellent background to the remainder of the book, where Norman describes his experiences as he travels the same routes and encounters relics and reminders of the past. His accounts of the towns and villages were of great interest: but it is when he enters and treks across the Canadian outback and travels and camps along the bends and rapids of the Yukon, with the visible evidence of the history and the descriptions of landscape and wild animals, that the book is at its best - and this is why I would recommend the book to those who maybe occasionally like to think about life beyond the ordinary.(Ratings are not absolute, and I reserve the 5-stars for the very few outstanding books that I have read: a 3-star book is a decent, average one, and a 4-star rating for me represents a good book that I would recommend.)

Format: 13.5 x 21.5 cm
Number of Pages: 246
ISBN: 978-3-99048-714-3
Release Date: 02.02.2017
Average Customer Rating: 4
GBP 14,10
GBP 8,99