CATHERINE HOLDER SPUDE. Saloons, Prostitutes and Temperance in Alaska Territory. University of Oklahoma Press. 344 pages; hardcover, $24.95, oupress.com.
Like most western boomtowns in a gold rush, Skagway, Alaska nurtured saloons and prostitutes. But when the male founders of the town brought their families north, their wives clashed with working class laborers over drinking, gambling and the purchase of sex. Spude relates how women obtained the vote and eliminated vice on America’s last frontier through biographies of madams, saloonkeepers, red light district landlords, local politicians, lawmen and reformers.