The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush

Written by Howard Blum
Review by John R. Vallely

One of the underappreciated joys of studying history lies in tapping into the lives and times of some of the very curious people who fill in the personal backgrounds of well-known events. Discovering the facts surrounding the 1896 Yukon Gold Rush is of use in and of itself, but living it through the eyes of men like Charlie Siringo, Jefferson “Soapy” Smith, and George Carmack opens up a world few lovers of history will ever regret entering. Carmack, a man who deserted the U.S. Marines for the lure of treasure, and Siringo, a Pinkerton detective faced with finding and arresting gold thieves, are confronted with “Soapy” Smith and his plans to grab as much money as possible through theft, intimidation, violence, and sheer audacity. Howard Blum presents the reader with a time period that is well worth booking passage to experience.