Book Reviews



Crazy Money: 
Nine Months on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline

by Potter Wickware

Review by Richard Sheppard


A feather-light story about a welder who in 1974 treks to Alaska's North Slope in pursuit of high-paying work on the Trans-Alaska pipeline. Routine tales of union rules and rivalries, payroll intricacies, welding descriptions, broad-and-hooker stories, and plenty o' drinking and time-killing. Cryptic references to the demon weed. The guy apparently had a blast up there, making about $70K a year in 1974 dollars. Back then, good money, room and board was free, plus top-notch food. And he got this book out of it. The highest drama in the book concerned an investigation of some substandard welding that the author had nothing to do with. He describes what seems like a fun little tank-testing project. Just because the book is about Alaska, don't expect any breathless descriptions whatsoever of natural beauty or paeans to environmental vicissitudes. Guy was essentially up there welding pipe, drinking, screwing around with broads and pay-per-dos, and banking as much "crazy money" paycheck as he could, something on the order of $35K saved for about a year's worth of welding pipe.