“This is one of the best, if not the best, biographies ever published on the gold rush era.”
The Bloomsbury Review
If Horatio Alger had imagined a female heroine in the same mold as one of the young male heroes in his rags-to-riches stories, she would have looked like Belinda Mulrooney. Smart, ambitious, competitive, and courageous, Belinda Mulrooney was destined through her legendary pioneering in the wilds of the Yukon basin to found towns and many businesses. She built two fortunes, supported her family, was an ally to other working women, and triumphed in what was considered a man's world.
In Staking Her Claim, Melanie Mayer and Robert N. DeArmond provide a faithful and comprehensive portrait of this unique character in North American frontier history. Their exhaustive research has resulted in a sweeping saga of determination and will, tempered by disaster and opportunity.
Like any good Horatio Alger hero, Belinda overcame the challenges that confronted her, including poverty, prejudice, a lack of schooling, and the early loss of parents. Her travels took her from her native Ireland as a young girl to a coal town in Pennsylvania to Chicago, San Francisco, and finally, in 1897, to the Yukon.
Staking Her Claim is a testament to the human spirit and to the idea of the frontier. It is a biography of a woman who made her own way in the world and in doing so left an indelible mark.
Melanie J. Mayer is a professor of psychology and psychobiology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Robert N. DeArmond is the author of numerous books on Alaska history. He lives in Sitka, Alaska.
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