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Faith of Fools

Faith of Fools: A Journal of the Klondike Gold Rush by William Shape

Reviewed by L. Bennett

In 1897 William Shape had been married for 7 years and was the father of two young sons. He and wife, Louisa, lived in New York City. Will had been born into a wealthy family of German immigrants and received a good education, both academically and through family trips abroad. But in 1897 the call of adventure and potential riches reached across the continent when word of the Klondike Gold Rush lured Will and a friend away from city life.

Faith of Fools is William Shape's journal of the year he spent in pursuit of gold in the Klondike. He describes the arduous trek from Skagway over the Chilkoot Pass and the hundreds of pounds of supplies he and his partner hauled in numerous repetitive trips to the summit and down the far side. In a forthright but captivating style, Will details crossing swamps, meeting other miners, visiting Indian villages, building a boat, shooting rapids through rocky canyons, and camping amid swarms of flies and mosquitoes. It is a story of courage and persistence in search for gold at the end of the trail. He finds trail's end but the gold Will brought back to New York City was not sluiced from Alaskan rivers.

If you enjoy real life adventure tales and want to experience the challenge of the Klondike without leaving your armchair, this book is for you!

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