Boom Town Boy: Coming of Age on Alaska's Lost Frontier
A newspaper reporter recalls his youth in Fairbanks, Alaska, a dying gold-rush town that comes alive again with a wild mix of Russian and American pilots, a busy red-light district, and a round-the-clock bar scene in the 1940s war years. More
This is the witty, ironic, and deliciously outspoken coming-of-age memoir of Jack de Yonge set in Fairbanks, Alaska -- a once thriving little mining town slowly dying in the remote center of the vast territory in 1934. As Jack's dad liked say, no matter what direction you went out of town, you soon arrived in Nowhere.
Then, World War II breaks out, and the Japanese attack Alaska. The sleepy little river town springs back to life with the arrival of thousands of U.S. soldiers, Russian lend-lease pilots, and construction workers who keep the red-light district busy and the bars rocking around the clock.
The son of a hardwareman at the N.C. Company and a black Irish daughter of the gold rush, de Yonge is a fist-fighting, music-loving altar boy who discovers his own truths about sex, religion, racism, and how the world works. His earthy story describes how war arrives in a small Alaska town next to Nowhere and nothing is ever the same again.