The Biggest Damned Hat

Tales from Alaska's Territorial Lawyers and Judges

Pamela Cravez

The Biggest Damned Hat

Pamela Cravez

Distributed for University of Alaska Press

220 pages | 35 halftones | 6 x 9
Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781602233171 Published April 2017
E-book $7.00 to $24.95 ISBN: 9781602233188 Published April 2017
Alaska history from the days before statehood is rich in stories of colorful characters—prospectors, settlers, heroes, and criminals. And right alongside them were judges and lawyers, working first to establish the rule of law in the territory, then, later, laying the groundwork for statehood.
 
The Biggest Damned Hat presents a fascinating collection of stories ranging from the gold rush to the 1950s. Built on interviews and oral histories from more than fifty lawyers who worked in Alaska before 1959, and buttressed by research into legal history, the book offers a brilliantly multifaceted portrait of law in the territory—from laying the groundwork for strong civil and criminal law to helping to secure mining and fishing rights to the Alaska Court-Bar fight, which pitted Alaska’s community of lawyers against its nascent Supreme Court. Bringing to life a time long past—when some of the best lawyers had little formal legal education—The Biggest Damned Hat fills in a crucial part of the story of Alaska’s history.
 
Review Quotes
Alaska Dispatch
“[A] breezy, light-hearted and thoroughly entertaining account of how the legal profession evolved in Alaska during the territorial and early statehood periods, and of how Alaska evolved in part as a result of its lawyers.”
Fairbanks News-Miner
“Readers can expect to come for the characters but stay for this story, which is truly unique. If any Alaska history book before this has touched on the state’s legal culture, it was only in passing or mired in such deep jargon that the human interest got lost. This, again, is where the skill of the writer and the extent of her research, particularly in the pursuit of personal interviews, shines through.”
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