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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

GUEST POST: Master of Alaska By Roger Seiler

Master of Alaska
By Roger Seiler
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

The year 2017 is the Sesquicentennial (150th year anniversary) of the U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia. Today Russia and the U.S. often seem to be at each other's throats, but in the 1860s the two countries were the best of buddies. Tsar Alexander II had supported the Union in the U.S. Civil War, making other European countries think twice before recognizing the Confederacy – none did. When Secretary of State William Seward and the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. negotiated the treaty for the sale of Alaska to the U.S. in March of 1867, the treaty stipulated that Alaska would change hands in October of that year.

After the ambassador greased enough Senate palms to ensure approval, within a few days the treaty had the 2/3 consent of the Senate. It was assumed that the U.S. House of Representatives, who had to approve the expenditure for the sale, would give its okay well before the property transfer in October. But guess what? The House went out of session before taking up the matter of the purchase and wouldn't come back to work until December – two months AFTER Alaska was scheduled to be handed over to the U.S. When October 1867 rolled around, the Russians kept their side of the bargain and gave the keys to their Alaskan ice box to the Yanks.

What's waiting a couple of months for payment among friends? However, when the House reconvened in December, they had no interest in Alaska. All they wanted was President Andrew Johnson's hide. They stayed completely focused on the impeachment of Johnson until the summer of 1868 when the Senate let Johnson off the hook, falling one vote shy of giving him the boot.

So, the exhausted House was about to adjourn again, when somebody yelled, “Wait a minute! We need to take care of Tsar Alex, our dear friend who kept Europe from meddling in our recent family spat. We mustn't keep Alex waiting for his money!”

Now can you imagine today, you buy a house, move in and then finally get around to paying for it eight months later? Tsar Alexander II was a real friend, a trusting friend. He reasoned, any nation that was started by a man who told the truth about a chopped-down cherry tree could be trusted to pay its debts. Now why can't we and the Russians get along like that today?

Importantly, the Alaska purchase never would have happened were it not for the first Russian governor of Alaska, Aleksandr Baranov. Baranov stopped the British from taking over Alaska and adding it to Canada in the early 1800s. He's a “colorful guy” that I write about in my new historical novel, Master of Alaska – the rip-roaring saga of Baranov's great adventure and his amazing love story in the wilds of Alaska back when the men and women of the Last Frontier were made of true grit.

The detail and research that author Roger Seiler used – from biographies to actual letters and reports by the Governor Baranov himself - creates a riveting story.

Master of Alaska - a compelling Historical Fiction about the first governor of Alaska sent to the colony by Russia in 1790 – George Washington was President at the time. Master of Alaska starts in October 1790 when Aleksandr Baranov left his family in Russia and sails across the North Pacific to Kodiak to become the chief manager for Tsarina Catherine the Great’s colony in the far Northwest of North America. Baranov is shipwrecked, saved and adopted by the Aleut natives. Later he is forced to marry Anooka the daughter of the tribal chief, despite still having a wife back in Russia to save his men from starvation. Only slated to serve five years, Baranov spends the next 28 years in Alaska, surviving natural disasters, a massacre of his people at Sitka, meddling competing Russian authorities, a British attempt to undermine his colony and an assassination attempt. Interestingly, Baranov’s native wife and teenage daughter play an intricate role and contribute much to his success and survival in Alaska. Baranov built an empire and sought peace with the warring Tlingit, and thanks largely to his efforts Alaska is part of the U.S. toda

About the Author 

Award-winning filmmaker and author Roger Seiler grew up in Alaska from age three. His love of adventure comes from both his parents. His father Edwin was a civil engineer eventually becoming an Alaskan bush pilot. His mother Josefina was born in Puerto Rico and was a writer and Alaskan sport-fishing lodge manager with the hobby of Flamenco dancing. In his late teens, Roger was a king salmon sport fishing guide on Alaska’s Naknek River, and also a commercial salmon fisherman in Bristol Bay.
He attended Deep Springs College and graduated With Honors from UCLA with a BA in Theater Arts - Film. His first film work was for UCLA’s Automotive Collision Research project, including a film for TV, “Safety on the Road,” which he wrote, produced and directed. While attending UCLA, Roger also worked with actor Karl Malden and famed director Francis Ford Coppola.

Roger worked for IBM for several years as an in-house filmmaker involved largely in producing and directing motivational films for employee conventions. He has made over 30 documentary films. His IBM film, "The Inner Eye of Alexander Rutsch" had a special screening at New York's Museum of Modern Art and won the CINE Golden Eagle Award, as did three of his other films, "Frontiers," "Challenge Over the Atlantic," and "Strategy of the Achiever."

Roger currently lives in South Nyack, NY with his wife Sally. Roger is a devoted reader and supporter of libraries. In 1977 he was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Nyack Library (Carnegie funded in 1879) and has continued to serve for 40 years, 16 as Board President. Master of Alaska, a Historical Novel, is his second book and whose publisher North Face Publishing is subsidiary of Motivational Press Publishing.

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Award winning Filmmaker and Author Roger Seiler is giving away EACH DAY one SIGNED hard-copy of his Historical Novel MASTER OF ALASKA during the virtual book tour June 12 through June 30. Register at Roger’s website: – Good Luck!