Alaska has not evolved in a vacuum. It has been part of larger stories: the movement of Native peoples and their contact and accommodation to Western culture, the spread of European political economy to the New World, and the expansion of American capitalism and culture.
Alaska, an American Colony focuses on Russian America and American Alaska, bringing the story of Alaska up to the present and exploring the continuing impact of Alaska Native claims settlements, the trans-Alaska pipeline, and the Alaska Lands Act. In contrast to the stereotype of Alaska as a place where rugged individualists triumph over the harsh environment, distinguished historian Stephen Haycox offers a less romantic, more complex history that emphasizes the broader national and international contexts of Alaska's past and the similarities between Alaska and the American West. Covering cultural, political, economic, and environmental history, the book also includes an overview of the region's geography and the anthropology of Alaska's Native peoples.
Throughout Alaska, an American Colony, Haycox stresses the continuing involvement of Alaska Natives in the state's economic, political, and social life and development. He also explores the power of myth in historical representations of Alaska and the controlling influence of national perceptions of the region.