Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Jorgy: The Life of Native Alaskan Bush Pilot and Airline Captain Holger "Jorgy" Jorgensen, as told to Jean Lester

I received this book as part of the Early Reviewers program on LibraryThing.

Otherwise, to be honest, I probably would have never even come across it, let alone bought it.

And yet, I started this book on May 8 and finished it on May 12. It was certainly not a chore to read.

The book is very earnest, if a bit amateurish. Told as a series of anecdotes, it reads like a book of short stories with a common theme.

Jorgy Jorgensen is definitely a remarkable individual who overcame long odds to rise to a well respected position in his chosen profession. The book conveys his laconic voice well although, to some extent, it is a victim of his accomplishments in that, even when Jorgy's not bragging, the book seems to be.

The book holds obvious appeal for fans of aviation and those interested in the behind the scenes stories of the Alaska bush. While I am neither of those, the book held my interest quite well too.

From Jean Lester's website:
This book is the autobiography of an Inupiat man, born in an isolated mining community, having only an eighth-grade education, who amidst a frontier mentality of conqueror superiority, surpassed the prejudice of his time to become a legendary aviator. Early aviation, the Alaska Territorial Guard, segregation, the DEW line, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline were part of this exciting and tumultuous time in Alaska's history. Boom and bust, exploration and exploitation to such an extent no one could have imagined or anticipated, was Alaska when Jorgy was growing up and flying. Jean Lester brings her talent for capturing the voices of her subjects to bear, vividly relaying Holger "Jorgy" Jorgensen's wry and laconic tales of his life in the northern air.
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