The Story of the Alaska Highway
Crooked Road tells the tale of how the Alaska Highway was built during World War II under the 1942 authorization of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who ordered its construction for the joint defense of the United States and Canada.
David Remley shares the story, not only of the Americans and Canadians who mapped and built the road, but also of the people who lived in the vast trackless area before the road came, and those who drive the road now — truckers, tourists, and migrants. Crooked Road draws upon archival images and oral histories and ultimately offers a fascinating historical account of the expansion of the American landscape. As he notes, “Oral history, since it is the stuff of memory, is often unreliable as to the cold facts, but it…gives the shape of the character and the temper of the people of a special time and place…”
"In Crooked Road, Remley has managed to convey both fact and feeling, presented in a roughly chronological
sequence from the day the highway was authorized by Roosevelt in February 1942 as
a hedge against enemy-beachhead in Alaska…Crooked Road…is especially readable because Remley incorporated the oral tradition. The best part
of the bargain is that Crooked Road doesn’t have a spider web windshield, and you don’t have to sweat the knee-deep potholes."
—Brad Matsen, Juneau Alaska Empire
"In Crooked Road: The Story of the Alaska Highway, author David Remley uses oral history and archival research to make that ambitious
project come alive and to show how longtime residents from the “old North” experienced—and
were changed by—the road's construction."
—The Oral History Review