Author of 'Firecracker Boys' to present today

Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2008

JUNEAU - In 1958, Father of the H-bomb, Edward Teller, unveiled his plan to create an instant harbor on the coast of Alaska by exploding a string of nuclear bombs. Instead he accidentally helped launch the environmental movement. With accompanying slides, Dan O'Neill, author of "The Firecracker Boys," will tell the story of Project Chariot - how a small Eskimo village, along with a handful of Alaska scientists and conservationists, thwarted Teller's scheme and sparked a new era of environmental awareness. His presentation will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the University of Alaska Southeast Egan Lecture Hall.

O'Neill has written three books of literary nonfiction. His first, The Firecracker Boys, is a political history. It won the Outstanding Alaskana Award from the Alaska Library Association, and for it O'Neill was named 1994 Alaska Historian of the Year by the Alaska Historical Society. An updated version has recently been released, and the book is under option to HBO for a feature film.

The Last Giant of Beringia (2004) is part biography of a uniquely eclectic scholar and part an explication of the scientific work that led to our understanding of the Bering Land Bridge. The Times (London) called it "a beautiful and engrossing book...a wonderful integration of science and history."

A Land Gone Lonesome is a book of literary travel writing centered on a canoe trip down the upper Yukon River. The New York Times Book Review awarded it an "Editor's Choice," and the book also won the 2006 Outstanding Alaskana of the Year Award. O'Neill has lived outside of Fairbanks for 33 years.

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