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Arctic Son: Fulfilling the Dream (Expedition Series) Paperback – November 1, 1996

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In 1992 Jean Aspen and her husband, Tom, took their young son to live in Alaska's interior wilderness, building a cabin out of logs, hunting for food, and letting the vast, harsh beauty of the Arctic close in around them. While Jean had faced Alaska's wilderness before -- in a life-altering experience she chronicled in Arctic Daughter -- this journey would be different. Dogged by sickness and hardships, cut off from the rest of the world, her family faced not only a test of endurance, but of its own well-being and survival....

From a daily struggle against the elements to an encounter with a grizzly bear at arm's length, from moments of breathtaking beauty and self-realization to a harrowing, six-hundred-mile river passage back to civilization, Arctic Son chronicles fourteen remarkable months in the Arctic. At once a portrait of courage and a heart-pounding adventure story, Arctic Son portrays a family's extraordinary journey into America's last frontier.

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Product Details

  • Series: Expedition Series
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Delta (November 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385313721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385313728
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,409,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jean Aspen holds baccalaureate degrees in biology and nursing. Her classic books and the documentary she and her husband produced form a lifetime tapestry centered on wilderness. They live in Alaska and continue to spend much of each year afoot in nature. See more at www.jeanaspen.com and their ARCTIC SON Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Arctic-Son/148221638529255.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Karen D. Somers on February 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
I couldn't wait to read this book after having enjoyed Arctic Daughter. The two adventure stories stand alone as exceptional works -- not of literature -- but of true adventure stories. I found Arctic Son to be true to Jean Aspen, the woman and adventurer. It was real in content, description of events, feelings and thoughts, and it allowed me to live out my own dream of building a cabin in Alaska without leaving home. Additionally, Arctic Son proved that even after a family comes along, adventure is still attainable and very rewarding to the soul of all. At the same time, the mental and physical risks and costs of such high adventure are made quite clear. This book was just as good, if not sweeter, than the first book. Also, it isn't necessary to read both books sequentially to understand events or motivation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Knopp on December 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
I first heard of Jean Aspen when a condensed version of her first book, Arctic Daughter, appeared in a Reader's Digest. I have since acquired, with difficulty, my own copy of that book. I later located Arctic Son in a used bookstore. I felt the point of both books was not to elevate the art of literature, but rather to convey the life-shaping experiences of her years in the arctic, using literature as the medium. I understand Jean and Tom filmed portions of their time in Alaska during the "Arctic Son" period, and I would love to locate a copy of that, if possible. Any help out there???? At any rate, both books are great to curl up with and dream about during a long winter.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Kearns TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 18, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved Jean Aspen's first book, Arctic Daughter, and have read it several times. So I was eager to read this second book and enjoy this return to the Arctic with her husband Tom and their son Luke. It seemed especially nice that her son would continue the love affair with the Arctic, bringing the family full circle. As a middle aged woman myself, I identified with her worries that she and Tom were too old and soft to succeed.

But my impression throughout the book is that this was HER dream, and her husband and son were just along for the trip. Her son especially was unhappy, lonely, whiny, defiant and argumentative throughout their whole time there. He did backflips of joy when they returned to civilization. Even Tom told her he was ready for her to put her past aside, and that he was tired of living in it.

I rarely felt any affection or closeness between Jean and Tom. She was very concerned when he was sick, but mainly about what she would do if he died. She seems to be a middle aged force of nature, commander of the family, and the font of all knowledge. Even towards the end of the trip, when all three of them had weathered 14 months in the wilderness, it was Jean who looked at the river and commanded "let's go!" as if only her assessment of the river's safety was valid.

I was also somewhat taken aback by Jean's unflattering description of her husband. She describes herself with words like "direct, gray-green eyes", "strong jaw and high cheekbones, full lips and even teeth," "handsome" and even "considered beautiful". Meanwhile she describes Tom as "a bit heavy," asymmetrical face," "nose drifting off to one side," "balding", "unfashionably dressed" and wearing "thick glasses" for his myopic vision.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
Arctic Son is every bit as enjoyable as Arctic Daughter. It was very interesting to discover how different the two trips were. Jean has a genuine talent for putting her experiences and emotions into print, which is a real treat for the reader. Well done, Jean!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By gramper on August 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
i read this book years ago when goin through hard times and i got hope and inspiration from it. in my opinion very personally written.i enjoyed it right from the very first page.
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Format: Paperback
Was gifted this video and have been lending it to all my tiny house, off grid, remote living peers, because it is packed with valuable information that if a person is willing to listen and not just hear what is being said.

This I about the adventure this family began in the spring of 1992. NOT in recent years. The Internet was new and Mother Earth News was about as close as most folks here in the lower 48 could get to hands on information in print form. Even in 2015 this DVD has a lot of how to and how not to do, information.

If the viewer is willing to listen to what is being said and not hear what they want to hear or are hearing something that is not being said, one can learn a lot. Especially for those who partake such an adventure with a child. In some ways this is an extended Outward Bound type experience rather than a life long undertaking. Even Dick Proeneke (One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey) never stated out with the intention of staying years and decades in the Alaskan wilderness.

Unlike many newbies to the Alaskan wilderness this family was at least wise enough to begin their year long experiment in late spring, since this gave them valuable time to set up camp, get organized and then dig in and build what turned out to be a good cabin. They did a great job of filming day to day challenges and fun times. As well as discussing and showing the importance of where to lay a cabin out and how to successfully and creatively cut and haul trees from one side of the river to the other (make a raft set up).

Loved how they tastefully showed bath times where like with a good old scrub board and hot water laundry day, (which as they note, was a day long job) required hauling water from the river in 5 gallon buckets, and then heating the water.
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