As the son of a Northwoods mother, I was drawn to this book as one part of my family’s reengagement with this marvelous corner of America.
James Brakken serves up a delightful tale of the villains and the honest men and women who logged the region in the 1880s, sadly virtually leveling it in the process. It was (and is) a cold place where big hearts and stout arms were necessary to survival. Loggers, shopkeepers, prostitutes, churchmen, hunters and fishermen of both Scandinavian descent and Ojibwe ethnicity collaborated (or failed to) in circumstances where the careless felling of a pine or a particularly bad snow could turn matters to life-and-death-in the blink of an eye.
The Treasure of Namakagon has the feel, in this reader’s hand, of a labor of love. Simply and appreciatively told. Spare and honest, like a reliable Northwoodsman.