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One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey Paperback – May, 1999

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Frequently Bought Together

  • One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey
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  • More Readings From One Man's Wilderness: The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke, 1974-1980
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  • Alone in the Wilderness
Total price: $59.01
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This book made a big splash when it debuted in 1973. Keith based the text on the journals and photography of Richard Proenneke, who, after racking up years of 50-hour work weeks, did what many of us only fantasize about: he chucked it all and went to live in the woods. Now in his 80s, Proenneke still abides in the log cabin he built with his own hands and has become an icon for naturalists. Though few will follow Proenneke's lead, his story can be quite inspiring.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


""One Man's Wilderness is the best modern piece of prose about Alaska, the one that gives the truest picture of what living in the bush today is like for the lone individual.""  ---Anchorage Daily News

""[Proenneke's] journals froms the text of this handsome book, and his parkling color slides illustrate it with a beauty that tugs at your heart and sets your heels to itching just a little. You owe yourself the pleasure of this book."" ---Biloxi Sun Hearld

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Alaska Northwest Books; 1 edition (May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0882405136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882405131
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (436 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

282 of 287 people found the following review helpful By Ross E. Nelson on March 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
I can understand some people giving this book or the related video only three or four stars; this is one of those stories that depend heavily on the outlook you bring to them. Some might find Proenneke's feat mildly interesting but wonder why he did it. I found it enthralling.

You have to be fascinated by a man who seemed capable of creating almost anything he needed from raw materials using only hand tools. He carves out wooden spoons; builds his log home; turns gas cans into buckets, pots, and in-ground coolers; builds a cache on stilts; works up sturdy door hinges from stumps; and on and on. In our age of repetitive assembly of the same part or being a small cog in a service industry machine, in an age of such specialization even American farmers whose granaries overflow run to the supermarket for bread and then complain about the price, in an age of abundance that comes at the price of over-dependence on others, Richard Proenneke reached a satisfying level of self-reliance now nearly extinct.

I'm reminded of the "Little House on the Prairies" book series in which father Ingalls briefly laments having moved to South Dakota where he was dependent on the railroad trains to bring in food and fuel, compared to the days of self-sufficiency in the woods of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Proenneke's dream isn't for everyone. Imagine trying to do what he did if your skills are incomplete or you have a family to bring up. Living in the middle of wild Alaska would be more suffering than fulfilment. But what a dream to have, in which you turn your back on the rat race and build what you need to live from start to finish, or as Proenneke says "to do a thing to completion." His accomplishments give me daydream release from the tedious grind of bills and mindless work.
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251 of 266 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was at Port Alsworth, Alaska, on Lake Clark this July 1999, and bought this book at the Lake Clark Vistor Center. The beauty of this country is awesome and spectacular. The book tells the adventure of a man called back in time. Dick chose to travel into bush country building a comfortable cabin with his two hands at the cost of $40 dollars. Surviving the severe weather with wisdom and common sense. Enjoying and making friends with the wild animals. He had great respect for God's country and the animals. Friendship with Babe Alsworth, a true christian native and bush pilot. I met Babe's son, Glen and his wonderful family, at Port Alsworth. The book is vivid in discribing Dick's many months of survival and adventure in the Alaska bush. The book is very well written and it makes you feel like you are living the adventure with Dick. Pictures of the Alaska country and cabin help to visualize your thoughts. In the busy world of today, it was refreshing to read this book and reflect on how in ages past people lived day by day. I enjoyed reading the book very much.
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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful By David W. Johnson on February 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a powerful book and has quite a following. I was given the book by one of my best friends, which I consider a wonderful gift. This book has it all, beautiful photos, Richard's journal notes are amazing in their insight to his thinking and how this adventure unfolded. It is a simply wonderful book, and has people traveling to Alaska just to see the setting for such a balanced book. This book lays claim to new territory, and the claim is valid. No wonder it sells well, it is captivating reading and makes you look hard and close at your own life.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Merrie Goodrich on June 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
This has to be one of my very favorite books. I have read it front to back at least 7 times! It is written with the true adventurer in mind. Every detail of his experience makes the reader wish it were he/she that was there with him. If you have ever wished you could just go off into the woods, build a cabin and be self-sufficiant, This is the book for you.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By J. Barry on January 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
I bought this book after watching the PBS documentery of Richard Proenneke's year alone in the Alaskan wilderness. Where the documentary gives a brief synopsis of Dick's time in the wilderness, the books gives a more complete account of the trials and tribulations of survival alone in the middle of nowhere. His planning and ingenuity of what he would need to survive the harsh Alaskan winter (from building his own log cabin from the ground up to stocking up on food for the long winter) are truely inspiring.

Equally inspiring are the words Dick uses to describe his love of the land and of the joy he finds communing with nature and surviving in such a remote environment.

If you've ever felt a bond with Jack London's "Call of the Wild" and "White Fang" you will love this true life adventure of Dick's year alone in Alaska's wilderness.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 4, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having a family member who was a bush pilot I came to know Richard Proenneke, who was a lot like my Dad in so many ways and most of the people I grew up with.

After watching the PBS special about Richard Proenneke this is a book I wanted to own and it's much more interesting in my opinion than the video PBS showed since it goes into deeper detail on how he came to be in Alaska and the day to day life Richard Proenneke lived which was remote and physically celibate aside from an occasional mail/food drop.

Unlike so many books on remote living one doesn't read about wild life becoming a danger, but one reads of man and wildlife living in harmony and a man taking only what he needs when it comes to hunting and not letting any of the animal go to waste. Thus its a lesson in environmental living.

Also loved the book because its a lesson in the whole 'how to' attitude that is lost on so many Americans who demand a soft life. It was a joy to read how eating simple, using the outdoors to stay physically, mentally and spiritually healthy which cost Richard Proenneke little. Was a joy to read and see such wonderful photographs of a man who built his own cottage, made his own storage for meat, gathered his own fuel, and lived contently for decades, even though he only set out to test himself to see if he could last less than two years in a remote area in such frontier ways.

There are some valuable lessons to be learned here for the many soft living Americans I know, who never look beyond themselves and the bigger picture. Thankfully I know a good number of Richard Proenneke like people. The book should challenge the reader in at least a few ways.
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