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Authors: Mr. Sam Keith,Richard Proenneke

One man’s wilderness

BOOK: One man’s wilderness
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Praise for
One Man’s Wilderness:

“Richard Proenneke, an emigre from Iowa to Alaska, kept a journal during the time he was fulfilling his dream of living in an altogether undeveloped part of Alaska. Parts of that journal have been made into a book by Sam Keith, along with colored photos that prove Alaska is certainly one of, if not the, most beautiful places anywhere.”

—Boston Globe

“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 answered Robert Service’s call of the wild. His journal forms the text of this handsome book, and his sparkling 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 (Mississippi) Sun Herald

“It is soul reading—the simplicity of a man’s inner feelings stated in terms which leave no misunderstandings. . . . A classic of its kind.”

—Lansing (Michigan) State Journal

“A simply written book. . . . I finished it in just a few nights, and was sorry when I did.”

—Gary (Indiana) Post-Tribune

“Many of us will never realize the dream of such an escape from our hectic, complex life to that of the solitude of the wilderness. But in the pages of this book we can share with a man who lived his dream. The book is certain to bring much pleasure to anyone who loves the outdoors.”

—Portsmouth (Ohio) Times

“This is the record of a man in our own time who went into the bush. It is the story of a dream shared by many, fulfilled by few, brought into sharp focus by the beautiful color photographs and the simple account of Proenneke’s life.”

—Burlington (Vermont) Free Press

“A gorgeous picture story of one man’s adventure in the remote Twin Lakes area, where he built a cabin and overcame nature’s challenges.”

—Cleveland (Ohio) Plain Dealer

One Man’s Wilderness


One Man’s Wilderness




By Sam Keith from the Journals
and Photographs of Richard Proenneke



Text © by Sam Keith and Richard Proenneke
Photographs © by Richard Proenneke
Book compilation © 1999 by Alaska Northwest Books
An imprint of Graphic Arts Books
P.O. Box 56118, Portland, OR 97238-6118


Thirty-second Alaska Northwest Books
printing 2011

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the publisher.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Proenneke, Richard

One man’s wilderness : an Alaskan odyssey / by Sam Keith ; from the journals and photograph collection of Richard Proenneke. - 26th anniversary ed.

p.      cm.

Originally published: Anchorage : Alaska Northwest Pub. Co. [1973]

ISBN 978-0-88240-513-1

1. Proenneke, Richard—Diaries. 2. Pioneers—Alaska—Twin Lakes Region (north of Lake Clark)—Diaries. 3. Twin Lakes Region (Alaska)—Description and travel. 4. Twin Lakes Region (Alaska)—Pictorial works. 5. Frontier and pioneer life—Alaska—Twin Lakes Region 6. Wilderness survival—Alaska—Twin Lakes Region I. Keith, Sam. II. Title.

F912.T85P76   1999




Designer: Elizabeth Watson
Map: Gray Mouse Graphics
Illustrator: Roz Pape
Photographer: Richard Proenneke
Cover Photos: Richard Proenneke
Printed in the United States of America


Although Dick Proenneke came originally from Primrose, Iowa, he will always be to me as truly Alaskan as willow brush and pointed spruce and jagged peaks against the sky. He embodies the spirit of the “Great Land.”

I met Dick in 1952 when I worked as a civilian on the Kodiak Naval Base. Together we explored the many wild bays of Kodiak and Afognak Islands where the giant brown bear left his tracks in the black sand, climbed mountains to the clear lakes hidden beyond their green shoulders, gorged ourselves on fat butter clams steamed over campfires that flickered before shelters of driftwood and saplings of spruce.

It was during these times that I observed and admired his wonderful gift of patience, his exceptional ability to improvise, his unbelievable stamina, and his consuming curiosity of all that was around him. Here was a remarkable blending of mechanical aptitude and genuine love of the natural scene, and even though I often saw him crawling over the complex machinery of the twentieth century, his coveralls smeared with grease, I always envisioned him in buckskins striding through the high mountain passes in the days of Lewis and Clark.

If a tough job had to be done, Dick was the man to do it. A tireless worker, his talents as a diesel mechanic were not only in demand on the base but eagerly sought by the contractors in town. His knowledge, his imagination, and his tenacity were more than stubborn machinery could resist.

BOOK: One man’s wilderness
2.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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