BLOODY FALLS OF THE COPPERMINE: Madness, Murder, and the Collision of Cultures in the Arctic, 1913

McKay Jenkins, Author . Random $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-375-50721-2

Demonstratinig a skilled storyteller's gift for crafting a gripping tale, Jenkins (White Death ) further enhances his reputation as a popular historian with this latest effort. An obscure Arctic tragedy—the brutal killing of two Catholic priests by two Eskimos—gives Jenkins an opportunity to "explor[e] a moment in history in which two remarkably different cultures violently intersected." The clergymen began a mission to a remote group of Eskimos in 1911, but poor planning and an almost criminal underestimation of the challenges involved doomed the effort from the start. Jenkins has mastered the art of conveying his themes with telling and memorable details—for example, since the Eskimos had no concept of God, the beginning of the Lord's Prayer was translated as " 'Our boat owner, who is in heaven.'" Tensions arising from the struggle to survive the brutal environment led to the killings. Eventually, the murderers were captured by the Mounties in a remarkably efficient search of the vast wilderness. The trial, with the defendants' questionable ability to truly understand what is transpiring, affords the author further opportunities to illuminate a culture clash with resonances beyond its particular time and place, and should gain him a wide audience. 8 pages of b&w photos, maps, not seen by PW . Agent, Donadio & Olson. (On sale Jan. 4)

Reviewed on: 11/22/2004
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-0-8129-7537-6
Open Ebook - 163 pages - 978-0-307-43072-4
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