Alice King
June 13, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Gay Salisbury, Laney Salisbury
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it an A

In 1925, a diphtheria epidemic hit icebound Nome, Alaska, killing several children and threatening the entire population. Stranded without the proper serum, the residents of the former gold-rush settlement sat under quarantine while, for five days, some 20 dogsledders made a treacherous 674-mile relay to deliver a fragile shipment of antitoxin. The drama captured the American imagination–songs and poems celebrated the event, while newspapers breathlessly followed the race–but has since been relegated to children’s-book tales of unlikely lead dog Balto. Here, the first-cousin authors vividly resurrect the mushers’ humanitarian feat in a scrupulously researched, cleanly written account that makes for a rollicking good adventure.

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