May 2015 titles from UA Press: 'Attu Boy' and 'Exploring and Mapping Alaska'

by Michelle Saport  |   

The University of Alaska Press has released two new titles, Attu Boy: A Young Alaskan's WWII Memoir and Exploring and Mapping Alaska: The Russian America Era, 1741-1867. For more information about these titles and many more, please visit or call (800) 621-2736.

20150519-attu-boyAttu Boy: A Young Alaskan's WWII Memoir by Nick Golodoff, edited by Rachel Mason with a preface by Brenda Maly In June 1942, the Japanese army invaded Attu, a remote island at the end of the Aleutian Chain. Soldiers occupied the village for two months before taking its Alaska Native residents to Japan, where they were held until the end of the war. After harassing American and Canadian forces for little over a year, the Japanese forces quietly withdrew. After the war, the Attuans return to Alaska was not a joyful reunion. When they were released, the Attuans were not allowed to return to their home, but were settled instead in Atka, several hundred miles from Attu. "Attu Boy" is Nick Golodoff's memoir of his experience as a prisoner of war in Japan during World War II as a young boy. Nick was six years old when Japanese soldiers invaded his remote Aleutian village. Along with the other Unangan Attu residents, Nick and his family were taken to Hokkaido, Japan. Only 25 of the Attuans survived the war; the others died of hunger, malnutrition and disease. Nick tells his story from the unique viewpoint of a child who experienced friendly relationships with some of the Japanese captors along with harsh treatment from others. Other voices join Nick's to give the book a broad sense of the struggles, triumphs and heartbreak of lives disrupted by war.

20150519-exploring-mapping-alaskaExploring and Mapping Alaska: The Russian America Era, 1741-1867 by Alexey Postnikov and Marvin Falk, translated by Lydia Black For more than thirty years, the University of Alaska Press has partnered with the Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to make essential texts on Alaska available in English. The University of Alaska Press has just released volume seventeen of the Rasmuson Library Historical Translation Series, Exploring and Mapping Alaska: The Russian America Era, 1741-1867.

Russia first encountered Alaska in 1741 as part of the most ambitious and expensive expedition of the entire eighteenth century. For over a century thereafter, cartographers struggled to define and develop the enormous region comprising northeastern Asia, the North Pacific and Alaska. The forces of nature and the follies of human error conspired to make the area incredibly difficult to map.

Exploring and Mapping Alaska focuses on this foundational period in Arctic cartography. Russia spurred a golden era of cartographic exploration, while shrouding their efforts in a veil of secrecy. They drew both on old systems developed by early fur traders and new methodologies created in Europe. With Great Britain, France and Spain following close behind, their expeditions led to an astounding increase in the world's knowledge of North America.

Through engrossing descriptions of the explorations and expert navigators, aided by informative illustrations, readers can clearly trace the evolution of the maps of the era, watching as a once-mysterious region came into sharper focus. The result of years of cross-continental research, Exploring and Mapping Alaska is a fascinating study of the trials and triumphs of one of the last great eras of historic mapmaking.

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