This book told about a plan of which I had never heard to lay a telegraph cable from Europe through Siberia, under the Bering Strait, across Alaska (Russian America at the time) and down to the United States. William Healey Dall was a young (16 year-old) naturalist who took part in the exploratory work prior to the laying of the line. He was left close to Nome in the fall and went up the Yukon to spend the winter ready to begin exploration in the spring. In spring, he explored the area from his winter stopover up to Fort Yukon. Another team was responsible for the area from Fort Yukon to British Columbia.
A cable was successfully laid across the Atlantic Ocean, and this stopped the project. Dall returned to Alaska for later studies, and several places in Alaska are named after him. He worked at the Smithsonian, where he had sent the samples he collected in Alaska) for decades after his initial trip to Alaska.