Category archives: Long Reads

Mushing Non-Fiction

Dog mushing is a fascinating sport, and there are several nonfiction books that delve into the subject and the unique bond between mushers and their sled dogs. Here are some recommended non-fiction books.

The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic
by Gay Salisbury

“A stirring tale of survival, thanks to man’s best friend.” ― Seattle Times When a deadly diphtheria epidemic swept through Nome, Alaska, in 1925, the local doctor knew that without a fresh batch of antitoxin, his patients would die. The lifesaving serum was a thousand miles away, the port was icebound, and planes couldn’t fly in blizzard conditions―only the dogs could make it. The heroic dash of dog teams across the Alaskan wilderness to Nome inspired the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and immortalized Balto, the lead dog of the last team whose bronze statue still stands in New York City’s Central Park. This is the greatest dog story, never fully told until now. 2 maps; 48 illustrations.

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Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod
by Gary Paulsen

Fueled by a passion for running dogs, Gary Paulsen entered the Iditarod–the eleven hundred and eighty mile sled-dog race through the Alaskan wilderness–in dangerous ignorance and with a fierce determination. For seventeen days, he and his team of dogs endured blinding wind, snowstorms, frostbite, dogfights, moose attacks, sleeplessness, hallucinations–and the relentless push to go on. Winterdance is the enthralling account of a stunning wilderness journey of discovery and transformation (Chicago Tribune), lived and told by the best author of man-against-nature adventures writing today (Publishers Weekly).

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No End in Sight: My Life as a Blind Iditarod Racer
by Rachael Scdoris

The inspirational first person story of a young dog sled racer who had to overcome incredible odds to she is legally blindFor more than eleven years, twenty-one-year-old Rachael Scdoris has been guiding teams of sled dogs across jagged mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forests, and desolate tundra at speeds exceeding twenty mph. Not only is Rachael the youngest athlete to ever complete a 500-mile sled dog race mile, but she is also legally blind and has been since birth.
Though she faced resistance from race organizers, Rachael finally achieved her goal of competing, with the aid of a visual interpreter, in the 2005 Iditarod Trail International Sled Dog Race across the wilds of Alaska.
No End in Sight is a story full of heartache and hope, challenge and courage– and ultimately the triumph of dreaming big and working to make those dreams come true.

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Fast into the Night: A Woman, Her Dogs, and Their Journey North on the Iditarod Trail
by Debbie Clarke Moderow

At age forty-seven, a mother of two, Debbie Moderow was not your average musher in the Iditarod, but that’s where she found herself when, less than 200 miles from the finish line, her dogs decided they didn’t want to run anymore. After all her preparation, after all the careful management of her team, and after their running so well for over a week, the huskies balked. But the sting of not completing the race after coming so far was nothing compared to the disappointment Moderow felt in having lost touch with her dogs.   
Fast into the Night is the gripping story of Moderow’s journeys along the Iditarod trail with her team of spunky huskies: Taiga and Su, Piney and Creek, Nacho and Zeppy, Juliet and the headstrong leader, Kanga. The first failed attempt crushed Moderow’s confidence, but after reconnecting with her dogs she returned and ventured again to Nome, pushing through injuries,  hallucinations, epic storms, flipped sleds, and clashing personalities, both human and canine. And she prevailed.   Part adventure, part love story, part inquiry into the mystery of the connection between humans and dogs, Fast into the Night is an exquisitely written memoir of a woman, her dogs, and what can happen when someone puts herself in that place between daring and doubt—and soldiers on.

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Race Across Alaska: First Woman to Win the Iditarod Tells Her Story
by Libby Riddles

Libby Riddles wanted an adventure. At the age of 16 she left home for the snowy frontiers of Alaska, the Last Frontier. There her love of animals drew her to the sport of sled dog racing. When she entered the Iditarod, the famous marathon from Anchorage to Nome, she was just another Iditarod Nobody. Twelve hundred miles later, having conquered blizzards, extreme cold, and exhaustion, she and her dogs crossed the final stretch of sea ice, miles ahead of the nearest competitor… and suddenly she realised: I will be the first woman to win the Iditarod. This is the story of a courageous woman and her heroic dogs. This is the story of Libby Riddles’s adventure.

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Cold Hands, Warm Heart: Alaskan Adventures of an Iditarod Champion
by Jeff King

Known as the Winningest Musher in the World, Jeff King remains one of the top mushers in the history of sled dog sports. Since his first race in 1979, King and his well-trained teams of Alaska huskies have racked up many thousands of training miles and trail hours. The win after win after win, crossing the finish line first in more than a dozen major races, including the two internationally known the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. In the process, King has also racked up thirty years of first-person stories that offer a glimpse into the heart of a champion, the rugged Alaskan lifestyle, and the charismatic world of dogs.

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The Lance Mackey Story 1st edition by Lance Mackey (2010) Paperback
by Lance Mackey

Lance Mackey, the incredible Iditarod Champion, writes about his Alaskan childhood, his knock down battle with throat cancer, and how his obsession with dog mushing saved his life. Mackey has the distinction of being the only musher to win four Iditarod races. Not only that, he did it back to back two times by also winning the famous 1000-mile Yukon Quest. He did all this after overcoming battles with addiction, and after surviving cancer. Mackey’s loyal and boisterous fans believe he is the greatest musher ever.

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Father of the Iditarod – The Joe Reddington Story
by Lew Freedman

Back in 1971, Alaska homesteader Joe Redington had a wild idea — organize a 1,000-mile sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome. Thus was born the legendary Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race “RM” and an Alaska folk hero.

Susan Butcher and the Iditarod Trail
by Ellen M. Dolan

Describes the annual dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, and the life of the woman who was the first person to win it for three consecutive years.

Iditarod Classics
by Lew Freedman

The 1,049-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race “RM” is a marathon run against the nation’s most forbidding, demanding territory.

Seppala: Alaskan Dog Driver
by Elizabeth M. Ricker

Alaskan Dog Driver is a book written by Elizabeth M. Ricker that tells the story of Leonhard Seppala, a legendary sled dog driver from Alaska. The book chronicles Seppala’s life, from his early days as a young boy in Norway to his arrival in Alaska and his rise to fame as a dog driver. It explores Seppala’s relationship with his dogs, his experiences racing in the Iditarod and other sled dog races, and his role in the serum run to Nome, a heroic effort to deliver life-saving medicine to a remote Alaskan town during a diphtheria outbreak. The book also delves into the history of sled dog racing and the importance of the sled dog in Alaskan culture. Overall, Alaskan Dog Driver is a fascinating and inspiring biography that celebrates the incredible bond between humans and their canine companions.This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the old original and may contain some imperfections such as library marks and notations. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment to protecting, preserving, and promoting the world’s literature in affordable, high-quality, modern editions, that are true to their original work.

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Crimp! On-By!! The True Story of a Most Unlikely Iditarod Lead Dog
by Liz Parrish

Meet Crimp, the star of Crimp! On-By!!, as he tells you his fascinating life story, from the puppyhood accident which defined his life and gave him his name, all the way through to the 2008 Iditarod. Crimp is a happy soul who s taken in stride all the challenges life has thrown his way, and come out with his tail still waggin’! All he wants to do is GO! Crimp s inspiring story details what can happen when you don t take no for an answer. When you put your mind to doing what you know you were born to do. And what can be accomplished even when you re not perfect, and even when things don t always go your way. The book is arranged both as a compelling story for youngsters and adults alike as well as a reference for information on sled dogs and the Iditarod. Sidebars provide detailed information which augment the story and provide additional context. Crimp! On-By!! can be utilized to increase 3rd and 5th grade reading skills as well as develop an understanding of sled dog heritage. Crimp chose “Crimp! On-By!!” as his title since that is his very favorite command…”on-by” means keep on doing what you’re doing, no matter what!

1 2nd to Glory
by Lew Freedman

Iditarod co-founder and champion Dick Mackey approaches life in the North as a nonstop adventure. He’s been everywhere and done everything in Alaska, soaking up more adventure and excitement than ten of the rest of us.

Back of the Pack: An Iditarod Rookie Musher’s Alaska Pilgrimage to Nome
by Don Bowers

Once infected with the mushing virus, there is no cure — there is only the trail” Don Bowers learned the truth of these words as he lived his dream of running Alaska’s grueling 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. With no mushing experience and little money, but with a spirit of adventure and support from friends, he started from scratch to put together a team. Over the next two years, he discovered that becoming a serious musher is not to be undertaken by the faint of heart, or by those who cannot learn to laugh at themselves and keep going in the face of daunting difficulties and dangers. By the time he eventually pulled under the famous burled arch at the end of Front Street in Nome, his perspective on life had been changed forever by his dogs and by the staggering scope and intensity of the Iditarod. This is Everyman’s Iditarod, a tribute to the dedicated dreamers and their dogs who run to Nome in the back of the pack with no hope of prize money or glory. This is truly “the rest of the story” of the Last Great Race on Earth.

My Lead Dog Was a Lesbian: Mushing Across Alaska in the Iditarod–the World’s Most Grueling Race
by Brian Patrick O’Donoghue

   The Iditarod may be the only race that awards a prize for last place.  But then how many people can even complete a course that ranges across 1,000 miles of Alaska’s ice fields, mountains, and canyons at temperatures that sometimes plunges to 100 degrees below zero?  In conditions like these, anything can go wrong.  For Brian Patrick O’Donoghue, nearly everything did. 

In My Lead Dog Was a Lesbian, his reporter and intrepid novice musher tells what happened when he entered the 1991 Iditarod, along with seventeen sled dogs with names like Harley, Screech, and Rainy, his sexually confused lead dog. O’Donoghue braved snowstorms and sickening wipeouts, endured the contempt of more experienced racers (one of whom was daft enough to use poodles), and rode herd of four-legged companions who would rather be fighting or having sex.  It’s all here, narrated with self-deprecating wit, in a true story of heroism, cussedness, and astonishing dumb luck.

Running With Champions: A Midlife Journey on the Iditarod Trail
by Lisa Frederic

An inspiring book about dedication, the love of dogs, and the physical endurance and mental toughness needed to run the Iditarod sled dog race—from a female perspective.  Lisa Frederic didn’t set out to run the Iditarod. She just fell in love with the event and wanted to help. She ended up working as a volunteer for the Trail Committee at various checkpoints. Then she helped Iditarod champion Jeff King train his puppies. She had never mushed before. She was a rookie, but a rookie with heart and drive. She started out with short races and eventually raced the 1,049 miles from Anchorage to Nome in the Iditarod. Her story speaks to everyone who has ever followed a dream and found that the dream realized is even bigger than the imagined one.

Dogs of the Iditarod
by Jeff Schultz

Alaska’s famous furry citizens, the dogs of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, are the most athletic canines in the world. From puppyhood to first days in the harness, from championship runs across a thousand miles of snow to years of pampered retirement, these spectacular dogs are indeed man’s (and woman’s) best friends.

Did you know that …
     • Alaska huskies are an ever-changing cross-breed of the smartest, furriest, and fastest dogs?
     • Early US postal deliveries in Alaska were carried by sled-dog teams?
     • Iditarod competitors race across more than 1,000 miles in just over a week?
     • Heroic sled dogs have saved their mushers from icy rivers and gale-force blizzards?

Iditarod Dreams: A Year in the Life of Alaskan Sled Dog Racer DeeDee Jonrowe
by Lew Freedman

DeeDee Jonrowe loves dogs, and her consuming passion is the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Winter and summer, virtually day and night (even in her dreams!), she and her huskies prepare for the annual race across Alaska. IDITAROD DREAMS is an absorbing, personal account of a year in the life of this remarkable woman living on the edge of the wilderness with her husband, Mike, and enough howling huskies to populate a small town. It is about the special bond between a woman and her dogs and about the astonishing measure of skill and stamina required to compete in the Iditarod.

Backstage Iditarod, 2nd Edition
by June Price

Updated and expanded with 10 new chapters and some 90 new photos, “Backstage Iditarod, 2nd Edition,” picks up where the first edition left off. Written for the fans of the Iditarod who read the basics in “Backstage Iditarod,” it offers updated information as well as ten new chapters and nearly 90 new photos. You’ll get not only a peek behind the scenes of Alaska’s Last Great Race, but insight into what is involved in putting on the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. You’ll get a glimpse of recent champions Lance Mackey, John Baker and Dallas Seavey, as well as share in the rookie memories of Jodi Bailey, the first female musher to run and complete both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod in the same year as a rookie. Philip Walters, who’s still in the dreaming stages, revisits his first 200-mile race and shares what he learned about his team and himself. DeeDee Jonrowe tells why she races and gives us insight into her kennel and the bond with her dogs. “Backstage Iditarod, 2nd Edition” also expands its look at the volunteers and fans of the Iditarod and … more. Much more, including a look at how high performance dog kibble is made. Just as “Backstage Iditarod” showed what’s involved in putting on the race, this new edition offers that version in its complete form as well as more insight into what makes the Iditarod so special for so many.

Dog Man: Chronicles of an Iditarod Champion
by Martin Buser

What does it take to become an Iditarod champion? Join four-time winner and mushing legend Martin Buser as he reveals his life’s journey in candid and action-packed detail. From a childhood overseas to becoming a proud immigrant to the United States, Buser’s story of self-discovery takes the reader with him on the adventures, misadventures, and lessons that have shaped him and his incredible bond with his sled dogs. This compelling narrative shows what it means to be a real “Dog Man,” but it also serves as a stirring tribute to the spirit of the Alaskan Husky.

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Granite
by Susan Butcher

Susan Butcher was a four-time champion of the Iditarod Trail sled dog race. Granite was her greatest lead dog, but he didn’t start that way. He was a shy, scraggly pup that the others pushed around, but Susan saw his potential. Together they worked until he became leader of the team.
While they were training for the Iditarod, Granite became deathly ill. The veterinarians said he would never be strong enough to run the race. Granite refused to accept this, and slowly he started to recover. By the time of the race he was strong enough to start, but Susan wondered if he could finish the entire thousand-mile race. Confidently Granite guided the team into the lead of the race, when suddenly they were caught in a raging Arctic blizzard. Now Susan and the whole team depended on Granite to get them through the storm. He had to call on all his inner strength and courage to save them—if he could.

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Dogsledding and Extreme Sports: A nonfiction companion to Magic Tree House #54: Balto of the Blue Dawn (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #34)
by Mary Pope Osborne

When Jack and Annie came back from their adventure in Magic Tree House #54, they had lots of questions. How do sled dogs race for so long? When was the first Iditarod? What are some other extreme sports? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts about the Iditarod, open water swimming, the Ironman triathlon, free climbing, the X Games, and other ways people test their limits.

Filled with up-to-date information, photographs, illustrations, and fun tidbits from Jack and Annie, the Magic Tree House Fact Trackers are the perfect way for kids to find out more about the topics they discover in their favorite Magic Tree House adventures. And teachers can use the Fact Trackers alongside their Magic Tree House fiction companions to meet Common Core text pairing needs.

Year of the Dog: How Running Sled Dogs Saved the Life of a Middle-Aged, Woefully Mediocre, Mother of Eight
by  Michelle Kennedy Hogan

The true and often-humorous story of the adventure and failings of one middle-aged mom’s dream to run sled dogs and eventually run the Iditarod. How the dream got derailed, put off and still endured over 20 years of living. In the car of motherhood, Michelle Hogan spent her days wiping up spills, homeschooling her eight children, driving to football and soccer and dance, and always dreaming of sled dogs but it wasn’t until a fortuitous move to the Northwoods of Wisconsin that the dream could become real. Just real enough for it to all be taken away – again.

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More Iditarod Classics: Tales of the Trail from the Men & Women Who Race Across Alaska
by  Lew Freedman

Picking up where the best-selling IDITAROD CLASSICS left off, MORE IDITAROD CLASSICS introduces readers to more of the men and women who brave the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from Anchorage to Nome. And do they ever have stories to tell! In their own words, as told to award-winning reporter Lew Freedman, famed champions Doug Swingley, Martin Buser, Jeff King, and others share their very best stories–how they came to love the race, train their dogs and themselves, and battle all manner of winter hardships challenging the elements in what some have called the most extreme long-distance competition in the world. Alaskan heroes including Emmit Peters, Ramy Brooks, and DeeDee Jonrowe. explain how, for many of them, the Iditarod has become more of a way of life than an annual sporting event and how the work of training their dogs and making the run to Nome is punishing–but not punishing enough to deter them from trying again next year.

A Tale of Two Iditarods
by  Mark Chapoton

Blow by blow accounts of one young man’s two Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race runs. Takes the reader down the trail through the author’s eyes, ears, legs, and hands. Primary focus tries to stay on the incredible Alaskan Husky sled dogs who pull the author across the wild breadth of Alaska. As a handler for his uncle, four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser, Chapoton goes from rookie to Iditarod finisher, then does it again the following year. Dog lovers and adventure fans will enjoy this fast-paced easy read.

Adventures of the Iditarod Air Force
by Ted Mattson

Ted Mattson tells a quarter-century’s worth of tales of the volunteer pilots’ exploits above the trail–some funny, some somber–about what happens when a team of rambunctious dogs decides to exit the cabin of a fabric-covered airplane, about landing on sea ice in whiteout conditions, about miracle rescues and tragedies. It’s the story of a sidelight to the Iditarod race that can be as exciting and as colorful as the main event.

Champion of Alaskan Huskies
by Katie Mangelsdorf

An Alaska adventure through the biography of Joe Redington Sr., Father of the Iditarod. Joe always had big dreams and strove to achieve them. He drove the Alcan to Alaska in 1948, used his dog sled team to recover downed planes and helicopters in rural Alaska,did the first king salmon studies on the Susitna River, was a guide, a pilot, came up with the idea for the first long-distance race across Alaska–the Iditrod Race to Nome,took his Alaskan huskies to the top of Mt.McKinley with Susan Butcher joining him on one incredible adventure, began the Commemorative Serum Relay Race from Nenana to Nome, and many more adventures. Joe’s story and the over 150 pictures he took give the reader insights into life in the Last Frontier.

The Last Great Race, The Iditarod
by Tim Jones

Portrays a 1,049 mile dog sled race across the state of Alaska and depicts the experiences of the participants.

This Much Country
by Kristin Knight-Pace

A memoir of heartbreak, thousand-mile races, the endless Alaskan wilderness and many, many dogs from one of only a handful of women to have completed both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod.

In 2009, after a crippling divorce that left her heartbroken and directionless, Kristin decided to accept an offer to live at a friend’s cabin outside of Denali National Park in Alaska for a few months. In exchange for housing, she would take care of her friend’s eight sled dogs.

That winter, she learned that she was tougher than she ever knew. She learned how to survive in one of the most remote places on earth and she learned she was strong enough to be alone. She fell in love twice: first with running sled dogs, and then with Andy, a gentle man who had himself moved to Alaska to heal a broken heart.

Kristin and Andy married and started a sled dog kennel. While this work was enormously satisfying, Kristin became determined to complete the Iditarod — the 1,000-mile dogsled race from Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast.

THIS MUCH COUNTRY is the story of renewal and transformation. It’s about journeying across a wild and unpredictable landscape and finding inner peace, courage and a true home. It’s about pushing boundaries and overcoming paralyzing fears.

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Iditarod Leadership

by Chris Fuller

Chris Fuller has taken two decades of leadership experience and combined them with his mushing experience to bring this inspiring work that will have you thinking about leadership in a whole new way.

Business and life are adventures!

The lives of three business leaders converge, each at vastly different checkpoints within their careers. A young sales producer eager to make his mark, a seasoned executive struggling with burnout, trying to make meaning of it all, and a consultant coming to grips with the reality that leading a team is much more difficult than producing results on his own.

Their paths, while different, have led them to the northern reaches of the Western Hemisphere and an Alaskan wilderness adventure. Here they will learn what it takes to mush a team of dogs and face down the brutal elements of unforgiving weather while overcoming rugged terrain and their own limitations.

Culminating in a three-day race, each would learn about life, leadership, mushing, and gaining the will to persevere!

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Soldiers and Sled Dogs

by Charles L. Dean

Sled dogs have been serving humans since they were first tamed and broken to the trace thousands of years ago. Their history of supporting soldiers is much more recent and, for all its drama and heroism, remains little known. This hundred-year history of canine military service from the frozen reaches of Alaska to the snowy battlefields of World Wars I and II is told fully for the first time in this book by former army officer and longtime sled dog aficionado Charles L. Dean.
Dean’s book tells a story that begins in Alaska, traverses two world wars and the Cold War era, and ends in the present-day Danish sledge patrol in Greenland. Here are the sled dogs drafted from Alaska and trained by French troops for use in the Vosges Mountains; improvised alpine sled dogs used by the Italians in the Great War; those deployed by the German SS in World War II; and others training in Montana’s Camp Rimini, Colorado’s Camp Hale, and Nebraska’s Fort Robinson. From the nitty-gritty of the making of a canine division to the high drama of dogs conducting daring rescues and parachuting to their destinations, this book richly supplies a missing chapter in military history and in the story of man’s best friend at war.

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Cold Nights: Fast Trails: Reflections of a Modern Dog Musher

by Dave Olsen 

Describes the attraction and joys of dog sled racing, as well as breeding techniques, training regimens and the experience of an actual race.

Iditarod Alaska: Life of a Long Distance Sled Dog Musher

by Burt Bomboff

For many, Alaska’s golden years were at the turn of the last century when gold miners and fur traders plied the rivers and trails of this great Alaska in search of adventure and fortune. Men, tough guys who had character, traveled by foot, riverboat and dog team through a land where few could survive, much less thrive.It wasn’t just the adventure; it was the grandeur of Alaska, the deep woods, the open tundra and the rugged mountains. And it was also the life that meant so much. The fellowship of friends sitting around a campfire talking of things simple but important, things of the deep woods where the wolves howled and the northern lights danced across a clear, black, star studded sky.This same life, these people and the husky sled dogs were found along the Iditarod race trail during the 1980’s. Burt describes the life in a small wilderness cabin, the comradery of friends around a campfire, the dogs, the characters and the great Alaska wilderness. It brings back fond memories for us who lived it and tells in detail of these great times for others who want to know what it was really like.

Preserving Alaskan Style: Iditarod Dog Musher Recipes

by Annie Pothoven

A manual for how to cook and oversee Alaskan-style food. You can – Smoking, Drying, Canning, Outdoor Cooking, Salting, Preserves – Old sourdough recipes, and incredible preferences from the North! – Iditarod Dog Musher recipes, and their novel ways for open-air cooking. – Alaskan recipes from the past preference for now.

Dog Driver: A Guide for the Serious Musher

by Miki and Julie Collins

This is the most comprehensive book on mushing to date. Not only will you learn all the fine points of mushing, but you will really enjoy reading this book. Learn everything there is to know on mushing while you share in the excitement with this guide.

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Tales From the Trail: Short Fiction About Dogs, Mushing, and Sled-Dog Races

by Alex M. Stein

n 21 and a half pieces of short fiction, the writer/director of THE MOVIE explores the broad terrain of sled-dog racing and take you inside the minds of dogs and mushers. These unusual and unexpected perspectives on the world of mushing include the wide-eyed thrill of puppies, the bittersweet memories of a dog running his last race, the meandering thoughts of an ancient river, the hopes of a Widow’s Lamp, a Robert Service-like ode to spirits haunting a frozen stretch of sea ice, the joys of different kinds of victories, and even a rebuttal from a jealous cat. A new collection from the author of NO, MR. BOND, I EXPECT YOUR DREAMS TO DIE.

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MUSH Leadership Lessons Learned From A Lead Dog: Parable of the Sled-dog Team

by Jonathan Nathaniel Hayes

“M.U.S.H. Leadership Lessons From A Lead Dog” is a leadership training manual for churches and corporations. Author Jonathan Nathaniel Hayes, teaches spiritual and practicable lessons by employing the lessons learned from sled-dogs as parables.

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Dogs on the Trail: A Year in the Life

by Blair Braverman

When Blair Braverman started posting pictures of her dog team on Twitter, she had no idea the response she would get. Being a musher, after all, isn’t just about racing—raising dogs from puppyhood to retirement (and beyond) is a full-time job. She and her husband, musher Quince Mountain, wanted to share stories about life with their dog team. And not just the big stuff, like expeditions and wild animal encounters, but also the everyday things: the challenge of storing a thousand pounds of raw meat, scouting new trails with the dogs, the decisions that go into putting a team together, how she trains puppies to be brave. These were goofy stories, scary stories, heartfelt stories, stories that clearly connected with people and kept going viral.

Inspired by those connections, Dogs on the Trail is a chronicle of a year in the life of their dog team. Beginning in the fall as the weather starts to cool, training on both dry land and in the snow, then camping and racing. Spring brings mud—lousy for sledding, but the dogs love it. And summer is the season of puppies. The book ends on a beginning, in anticipation of the adventurous lives that the new pups have in store.

An irresistible adventure, Dogs on the Trail will delight and entertain while taking you inside a musher’s world, and showing you why the wilderness isn’t simply a place to visit but also a home to return to.

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Four Thousand Paws: Caring for the Dogs of the Iditarod: A Veterinarian’s Story

by Lee Morgan

An intimate account―the first from a trail veterinarian―of the canines who brave the challenges of the Iditarod.

Few sporting events attract as much attention, or create as much spectacle, as the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Each March, despite subzero temperatures and white-out winds, hundreds of dogs and dozens of mushers journey to Anchorage, Alaska, to participate in “The Last Great Race on Earth,” a grueling, thousand-mile race across the Alaskan wilderness.

While many veterinarians apply, only a small number are approved to examine the elite canine athletes who, using solely their muscle and an innate drive to race, carry handlers between frozen outposts each year, risking injury, illness, and fatigue along the way. In Four Thousand Paws, award-winning veterinarian Lee Morgan―a member of the Iditarod’s expert veterinary corps―tells the story of these heroic dogs, following the teams as they traverse deep spruce forests, climb steep mountain slopes, and navigate over ice-bound rivers toward Nome, on the coast of the Bering Sea, where the famed Burled Arch awaits.

From the huskies of Iditarods past to the intrepid dogs of today, Morgan shows how these fierce competitors surmount the dangers of the Arctic, aided, along the way, by attentive mushers and volunteer veterinarians. A world away from his Georgetown veterinary clinic, Morgan examines dogs at each checkpoint, and sees how their body language reflects the thrill of the race―and how, when pulled from it, they often refuse to eat. As in any team sport, distinct personalities among the sled dogs create complex group dynamics, and Morgan captures moments of intense rivalry, defeat, camaraderie, and, ultimately, triumph.

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Iditarod: One Thousand Miles Across Alaska by Dog Team

by Pam Flowers 

This is the story of my Iditarod Sled Dog Race, one thousand miles across Alaska from Anchorage to Nome. Unique among such books, this story focuses on the dogs, their personalities, and how the dogs and I trained to become a team good enough to take on the world’s longest sled dog race. On our way to Nome we experienced many difficulties and frightening challenges but always we felt the joy of overcoming each challenge as a team. Finally, came the thrill of victory as my dogs and I succeeded in finishing the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.

Every year on the first Saturday of March mushers set out from Anchorage Alaska to compete in the Iditarod Sled Dog Race on a 1,000 mile quest to be the first team to reach the gold mining town of Nome. At least one in five will quit. For those powered by their dream to succeed, they will face numbing cold, negotiate broken sea ice, brave blizzards, cross mountains, navigate snow covered trails over hundreds of miles of wilderness, and face angry moose.

Ask any musher what matters most and they will answer, “My dogs.” Mushers will go without sleep, booty their dogs’ feet, massage legs, feed, snack, rest, hug, praise, and encourage each one to be the best sled dog they can be, to do what they were born to do, what they love to do – pull a sled.

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Roald Amundsen’s Sled Dogs: The Sledge Dogs Who Helped Discover the South Pole

by Mary R. Tahan 

This book is an analytical account of how Roald Amundsen used sledge dogs to discover the South Pole in 1911, and is the first to name and identify all 116 Polar dogs who were part of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition of 1910–1912. The book traces the dogs from their origins in Greenland to Antarctica and beyond, and presents the author’s findings regarding which of the dogs actually reached the South Pole, and which ones returned.

Using crewmember diaries, reports, and written correspondence, the book explores the strategy, methodology, and personal insights of the explorer and his crew in employing canines to achieve their goal, as well as documents the controversy and internal dynamics involved in this historic discovery. It breaks ground in presenting the entire story of how the South Pole was truly discovered using animals, and how deep and profound the differences of perception were regarding the use of canines for exploration.

This historic tale sheds light on Antarctic exploration history and the human-nature relationship. It gives recognition to the significant role that animals played in this important part of history.

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