This dramatic journal and William Shape’s accompanying photographs give a human dimension to the journey undertaken by vast hordes of prospectors who headed north during the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1890s. Here we learn just how difficult it was to carry thousands of pounds of supplies over Chilkoot Pass, build a flimsy boat to rocket down raging rivers and pull that same heavily laden boat upstream, and battle thick clouds of mosquitoes. We learn of suffering and death and the true pleasure that comes from simple triumphs like baking a good loaf of sourdough bread and receiving mail from home.
One hundred years after the gold rush, William Shape’s journal and his candid snapshots vividly recreate the frenzy that drew a hundred thousand would-be prospectors to the frozen north.
This previously unpublished journal—recently rescued from a California flea market—was compiled by a man with a keen photographer’s eye and an author’s attention to detail. Faith of Fools provides a rare opportunity to live history in the first person, traveling to the gold fields with those ordinary prospectors who made that long, laborious trip a century ago.
Photographs / maps / 136 pages (1998)