From the brick-paved streets of Boston and New England, to the deserts of Arizona, to the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest, beloved author and columnist Stewart Holbrook takes his readers down uncharted paths in a series of delightful pieces. Little Annie Oakley and Other Rugged People (210 pages) is pure Americana that delves into…

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Jean Aspen, daughter of arctic explorer and author Constance Helmericks, began life in the wilderness. Throughout six decades, the natural world has remained central to her. What began as a series of letters to her son, Lucas, when she and her husband Tom set out to search for a different future, evolved over the seasons…

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James J. Hill (158 pages), the “Empire Builder,” (1838-1916) was a Canadian-American railroad executive with the Great Northern Railway, responsible for building railways across the northern US. Part visionary, part robber baron, part buccaneer, Stewart Holbrook brings his story to life, in brief, as well as the lives of the other movers and shakers in…

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In 1946, Clair Fejes moved from New York City, where she had been exhibiting in the A.C.A. Gallery, to Fairbanks, Alaska. She ultimately became an artist in a pioneering community, and traveled to a Noatak hunting camp on the edge of the Kotzebue Sound, where she was irrevocably inspired by the people and landscape of…

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Young Claire Fejes was a promising sculptor and painter in New York City in 1946, when her husband gave in to “gold fever”. She held the unconventional view that her career was as important as his. But in those days, a woman followed her husband, so Claire did – to Fairbanks, last stop on the…

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Dreaming Bears (208 pages) is the true story of the rare friendship that develops between a young medical student with deep roots in the South and an elderly Indian couple in the wilds of northeast Alaska. In 1961, Mike Holloway, his brother Ted, and a college friend set out from South Carolina to spend the…

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The blazing marquee of the plush Astor Theater in New York City billed the 1933 premier of “Eskimo” as “THE BIGGEST PICTURE EVER MADE,” propelling an 27-year-old Inupiat Eskimo from Candle, Alaska, to overnight stardom. The handsome actor was not only the first Alaskan to become a Hollywood movie star but also the first non-white…

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This is the fourth edition of Going to Extremes (306 pages) a work that always has been controversial in Alaska. Yet, it is an important and highly readable classic work that captures a portrait frozen in time of a raw state in turmoil during the oil boom. McGinnis went north to find out if there…

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Barbara Washburn never set out to become a mountaineering pioneer, but she wasn’t content to be a stay-at-home wife, either. In 1947, defying social convention, Washburn became the first woman to climb Alaska’s Mt. McKinley. Accidental Adventures (192 pages) chronicles her journeys with her husband, Bradford Washburn, on other expeditions to Alaska, the Grand Canyon,…

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Surviving the Island of Grace (352 pages) is a powerfully rendered story of a twenty-year-old newlywed transplanted from New Hampshire to a remote island in the immense Gulf of Alaska. Here, she must learn to live communally with her new family in primitive conditions without running water, electricity, or contact with the outside world. Even…

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