The Cruelest Miles by Gay Salisbury
The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic

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"A stirring tale of survival, thanks to man's best friend . . . reflects a transcendent understanding and impeccable research."—Seattle Times

When a deadly diphtheria epidemic swept through Nome, Alaska, in 1925, the local doctor knew that without a fresh batch of antitoxin, his patients would die. The lifesaving serum was a thousand miles away, the port was icebound, and planes couldn't fly in blizzard conditions—only the dogs could make it. The heroic dash of dog teams across the Alaskan wilderness to Nome inspired the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and immortalized Balto, the lead dog of the last team whose bronze statue still stands in New York City's Central Park. This is the greatest dog story, never fully told until now.

About Gay Salisbury

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Gay Salisbury is the former associate publisher of Basic Books. She splits her time between Fairbanks, Alaska, and New York City. Laney Salisbury, a Columbia Journalism School graduate, has reported from Africa, the Middle East, and New York. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Published February 17, 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company. 320 pages
Genres: History, Sports & Outdoors, Professional & Technical, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

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The writers vividly describe the race against time and nature, which attracted national attention, and provide well-rounded portraits of the team leaders and their dogs, especially Balto, the leader of the team that reached Nome first.

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Publishers Weekly

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The book demonstrates the remarkable intimacy mushers develop with their lead dogs—only a handful of sled dogs have the character, courage, intelligence and will to be the lead dog.

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Star Tribune

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But obscurity might have been a better fate than what befell the sled dogs of the final runner, Gunnar Kaasen.

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Entertainment Weekly

In 1925, a diphtheria epidemic hit icebound Nome, Alaska, killing several children and threatening the entire population.

Jun 13 2003 | Read Full Review of The Cruelest Miles: The Heroi...

Reviewing the Evidence

In addition, the book provides a lot of information about previous epidemics, such as influenza, the native peoples and the basic history of each of the primary players in the book.

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