The Floor of Heaven by Howard Blum

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 7 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

It is the last decade of the 19th century. The Wild West has been tamed and its fierce, independent and often violent larger-than-life figures – gun-toting wanderers, trappers, prospectors, Indian fighters, cowboys, and lawmen –are now victims of their own success. They are heroes who’ve outlived their usefulness.
But then gold is discovered in Alaska and the adjacent Canadian Klondike and a new frontier suddenly looms - an immense unexplored territory filled with frozen waterways, dark spruce forests, and towering mountains capped by glistening layers of snow and ice.

“Klondicitis,” a giddy mix of greed and lust for adventure, ignites a stampede. Fleeing the depths of a worldwide economic depression and driven by starry-eyed visions of vast wealth, tens of thousands rush northward.

Joining this throng of greenhorns and grifters, whores and highwaymen, sourdoughs and seers are three unforgettable men. In a true-life tale that rivets from the first page, we meet Charlie Siringo, a top-hand sharp-shooting cowboy who, after futilely trying to settle down with his new bride, becomes one of the Pinkerton Detective Agency’s shrewdest; George Carmack, a California-born American Marine who’s adopted by an Indian tribe, raises a family with a Taglish squaw, makes the discovery that starts off the Yukon Gold Rush – and becomes fabulously rich; and Soapy Smith, a sly and inventive predator-conman who rules a vast criminal empire.

As we follow this trio’s lives, we’re led inexorably into a perplexing mystery. A fortune in gold bars has somehow been stolen from the fortress-like Treadwell Mine in Juneau, Alaska, with no clues as to how the thieves made off with such an immensely heavy cargo.  To many it appears that the crime will never be solved.  But the Pinkerton Agency has a reputation for finding the answers that elude others.  Charged with getting the job done is Charlie Siringo who discovers that, to run the thieves to ground, he must embark on a rugged cross-territory odyssey that will lead him across frigid waters and through a frozen wilderness.  Ultimately, he’ll have his quarry in his sights. But then an additional challenge will present itself.  He must face down Soapy Smith and his gang of 300 cutthroats.  Hanging in the balance: George Carmack’s fortune in gold.

At once a compelling true-life mystery and an unforgettable portrait of a time in America’s history when thousands were fired with a vision of riches so unimaginable as to be worth any price, The Floor of Heaven is also an exhilarating tribute to the courage and undaunted spirit of the men and women who helped shape America.
 

About Howard Blum

See more books from this Author
HOWARD BLUM is the author of the New York Times bestseller and Edgar Award winner American Lightning, as well as such bestsellers as Wanted!, The Gold Exodus, and Gangland. He is currently a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. While at the New York Times, he was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published April 26, 2011 by Crown. 434 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Floor of Heaven

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

By 1898, George Carmack, the prospector who first discovered gold at Bonanza Creek and set off the Yukon gold rush, was looking for a way to transport a quarter-million dollars’ worth of ore from his claim to the stronghold of a boat headed for Seattle;

Mar 10 2011 | Read Full Review of The Floor of Heaven

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Blum, author of the bestselling and Edgar-winning American Lightning, displays all his creative gifts here. Using primary source materials from the three individuals around whom the narrative revolves

Jan 31 2011 | Read Full Review of The Floor of Heaven

The Wall Street Journal

See more reviews from this publication

The Smith biographer whom Mr. Blum cites as his mainstay—Jeff Smith, Soapy's great-grandson—does not connect his con-man subject to any incident involving Siringo.

Apr 30 2011 | Read Full Review of The Floor of Heaven

The Wall Street Journal

See more reviews from this publication

The Smith biographer whom Mr. Blum cites as his mainstay—Jeff Smith, Soapy's great-grandson—does not connect his con-man subject to any incident involving Siringo.

Apr 30 2011 | Read Full Review of The Floor of Heaven

Washington Independent Review of Books

Few stories have gripped the popular imagination as enduringly as tales of the Old West.

May 26 2011 | Read Full Review of The Floor of Heaven

San Francisco Chronicle

That's the skinny on Howard Blum's "The Floor of Heaven," a big, sprawling book that pairs colorful cowboys and ornery thieves with noble Indians, and the kinds of hardworking prospectors found in Jack London's tales of the Yukon.

May 03 2011 | Read Full Review of The Floor of Heaven

Bookmarks Magazine

The most unusual aspect of Howard Blum’s brilliantly readable new book is that while it’s clearly a non-fiction Western story, it takes place along the border of Canada, not Mexico, and is centered on the Yukon Gold Rush, in Alaska, rather than Texas. To say that it reads like a novel is a...

May 03 2011 | Read Full Review of The Floor of Heaven

Reader Rating for The Floor of Heaven
85%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 163 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×