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From the Klondike to Berlin: The Yukon in World War I shortlisted for the prestigious Fred Kerner Book Award


Posted: Friday, June 15, 2018

The Canadian Authors Association has announced the finalists for the Fred Kerner Book Award. Whitehorse writer Michael Gates’ most recently published book, From the Klondike to Berlin: The Yukon in World War I (Lost Moose, $24.95) has been shortlisted. The Fred Kerner Book Award is presented to a Canadian Authors Association member who has the best overall book published in the previous calendar year.

From the Klondike to Berlin: The Yukon in World War I is an important chronicle of the Land of the Midnight Sun’s contribution to the Great War. It tells the story of close to a thousand Yukoners, a quarter of the population, who enlisted before the end of the Great War. They were lawyers, bankers, piano tuners, dockworkers and miners who became soldiers, nurses and snipers; brave men and women who traded the isolated beauty of the north for the muddy, crowded horror of the battlefields. Those who stayed home were no less important to the war’s outcome—by March of 1916, the Dawson Daily News estimated that Yukoners had donated often and generously at a rate of $12 per capita compared to the dollar per person donated elsewhere in the country.

Historian Michael Gates tells us the stories of both those who left and those on the home front, including the adventures of Joe Boyle, who successfully escorted the Romanian crown jewels on a 1,300-kilometre journey through Russia in spite of robbers, ambushes, gunfire, explosions, fuel shortages and barricades. Gates also recounts the home-front efforts of Martha Black, who raised thousands of dollars and eventually travelled to Europe where she acted as an advocate for the Yukon boys. Stories of these heroes and many others are vividly recounted with impeccable research.

Michael Gates was formerly the curator of Collections for Klondike National Historic Sites in Dawson City and pens the popular column “History Hunter” for the Yukon News. He is also the author of Dalton’s Gold Rush Trail: Exploring the Route of the Klondike Cattle Drives (Lost Moose, 2012) and History Hunting in the Yukon (Lost Moose, 2010). He lives in Whitehorse, YT.

The other shortlisted authors for the Fred Kerner Book Award are Ahmad Danny Ramadan for The Clothesline Swing (Nightwood Editions) and Catherine Graham for Quarry (Two Wolves Press).

For more information about this award, go to canadianauthors.org.