In early 1942, the first of more than 18,000 U.S. military and civilian workers and countless tons of equipment were shipped across Canada and Alaska to one of the most inhospitable regions in the world. Their mission is to build a 1,500-mile-long highway through the Canadian and Alaskan wildernesses to link remote Fairbanks, Alaska, with the existing U.S. Highway System. Started three months after the devastating Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a good highway was needed to access America's northernmost territory should Alaska require extra defense in the event of a Japanese attack via the Aleutian Islands. Work crews had a mere eight months to complete this task, the largest and most complex construction project since the building of the Panama Canal almost 40 years earlier.
Paul Kupperberg is a writer and editor of more than a dozen books of nonfiction on topics including history, popular culture, science, and medicine. He has been an editor at numerous national publications, including a weekly newspaper and a kids' magazine. He lives in Connecticut.