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History General

Strange Things Done

Murder in Yukon History

by (author) Ken S. Coates & William R. Morrison

Publisher
McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2004
Category
General
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9780773527058
    Publish Date
    Apr 2004
    List Price
    $34.95
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9780773571891
    Publish Date
    Apr 2004
    List Price
    $95.00

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Description

Klondike lore is full of accounts of the exploits of Dangerous Dan McGrew, Sergeant Preston of the Mounted, and the Mad Trapper of Rat River. The stories vary from outright fabrications to northern fantasies and, on occasion, real-life accounts. Strange Things Done investigates a series of murders in the pre-World War II Yukon, exploring the boundaries between myths and historical events. The book seeks to understand both the specific events, carefully reconstructed from court evidence and police records, and the broader social and cultural context within which these violent deaths occurred. The murder case studies provide a unique and penetrating perspective on key aspects of Yukon history, such as Native-newcomer relations, mental illness and the folklore about cabin fever, the role of immigrants in northern society, violence in the gold fields, and the role of the police and courts in regulating social behaviour. The investigation of these capital cases also illustrates the fear and paranoia which gripped the territory in the aftermath of a murder, and the societys insistence on quick and retributive justice when offenders were caught and convicted. The Yukon experienced fewer murders than popular literature would suggest, and fewer than most would expect given the region's intense and dramatic history, but those that did occur illustrate the passions, frustrations, angers and human frailties that are present in all societies. The manner in which the murders occurred and the way in which Yukoners reacted also reveals specific and important aspects of territorial society.

About the authors

Ken S. Coates was raised in Whitehorse and has a long-standing interest in northern themes. Titles include Canada’s Colonies, The Sinking of the Princess Sophia, The Modern North, North to Alaska (on the building of the Alaska Highway) and many academic books. He has worked on north-centred television documentaries and served as a consultant to northern governments and organizations. He is currently Professor of History and Dean of Arts, University of Waterloo.

Ken S. Coates' profile page

William R. Morrison is professor emeritus of history at the University of Northern British Columbia.

William R. Morrison's profile page

Other titles by Ken S. Coates

Other titles by William R. Morrison