Our most recent stop in our Great Books series will be Alaska. Alaska is featured in ten great books. Alaska is a stunning location with vast open landscapes, amazing wildlife, and some truly nice people. You will create priceless memories there, regardless of whether you are there to view Alaska’s magnificent mountains, rivers, and glaciers; to learn about the cultures and history of Alaska; or to witness the magic of the northern lights.
Outstanding Books Set in Alaska
Cora Allbright uproots her thirteen-year-old daughter Leni to begin a new life in Alaska with her husband Ernt, a recently returned Vietnam veteran who has been wounded by the war. They struggle to create a home in this arid, stunning wilderness, completely unprepared for the climate and the solitude but welcomed by the tight-knit community.
The Great Alone provides a window into a rapidly disappearing way of life in America while also painting a personal portrayal of a family put to the limit. Kristin Hannah has written a tremendously moving novel that honours the resiliency of the human spirit and the incredible and enduring fortitude of women. Hannah’s signature blend of graceful prose and richly detailed characters gives the story its signature style.
This story, about the greatest risks a family can take and the connections that can destroy a society, is as magnificent and potent as Alaska itself. It is the best illustration of Kristin Hannah’s talent for fusing the intensely private with the general.
Brian Payton’s “The Wind Is Not a River”
April 1943. Journalist John Easley, who is grieving the loss of his brother, is motivated to bring attention to a hidden and escalating conflict: the Japanese invasion and occupation of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. But when his plane is shot down, he is forced to choose between giving up and surviving in a hostile wilderness.
Helen Easley, who lives three thousand miles to the south, is unable to accept her husband’s abduction, which exposes her safe, untried life. She embarks on an extraordinary journey from the safety of her Seattle home to the conflict in the north out of a desperate desire to find him and be reunited with him.
The Wind Is Not a River is a thrilling narrative of survival that highlights the frailty of life and the strong strength of love. It is an evocative, highly atmospheric tale of life and death, dedication, and sacrifice that is ideal for fans of Cold Mountain.
Nothing Fixed Daniel Stabenow
There are about zones with laws that must be followed.
It is New Year’s Eve, almost six weeks into a blizzard that has effectively closed off Alaska from the outside world by locking it down.
However, there are currently reports of a plane in the Quilak mountains. Ex-Trooper Jim Chopin is called out of retirement to try to identify the aircraft, gather the bodies, and ascertain why no flight has been reported missing because the National Transportation Safety Board is unable to access the accident site. But Jim finds two kids who can’t speak a word of English as survivors.
During this time, PI Kate Shugak receives an unpleasant and unexpected accusation from the afterlife that has the potential to completely alter the Park.
Author Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child
Jack and Mabel have bet everything on starting again on a homestead “at the world’s edge” in the untamed Alaskan wilderness in this beguiling story of loss and hope set in 1920s Alaska and inspired by a Russian folklore. However, as the days get shorter, Jack is struggling to clear the land, and Mabel can’t help but lose it when she thinks about the baby she lost many years ago.
When the first snowflakes start to fall, their attitude abruptly shifts. In a touching moment, the couple is astonished to discover themselves creating a snowman—or more accurately, a snow girl—together. The following morning, she is completely gone, but Jack still gets the lingering impression that he saw a small figure—possibly a child—running through the spruce trees in the early morning hours. How else can Mabel account for the tiny but distinctly human footprints she discovers at the edge of their property?
Travels in Alaska by Edward Hoagland
In addition to including historical information about the towns and places he visited, Hoagland offers numerous enticing nature descriptions of a breathtaking terrain. A charming blending of musings and personal essays, a love tale, and a naturalist’s perspective of one of the remaining untouched regions.
John Straley’s Cold Storage, Alaska Cold Storage, Alaska is a distant fishing outpost where, if you’re patient enough to wait for it, you just might capture a King Salmon. After serving seven years in prison for cocaine trafficking, Clive “The Milkman” McCahon returns to his small Alaskan hamlet. He needs to make amends to Miles, his younger brother, who has been devotedly caring for their ill mother. However, Clive is unaware of the turmoil he’s causing at home. He has changed, but his bitter former business colleague, a stick in the dirt, is right behind him. State Trooper who is desperate to catch Clive with drugs
Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild
What could possibly have moved a talented young man who had just received his college diploma to figuratively walk away from his life? That issue is addressed in renowned outdoor author and mountaineer Jon Krakauer’s reporting on Chris McCandless, whose malnourished body was discovered in an abandoned bus in the Alaskan wilderness in 1992.
Did McCandless, who was praised by friends and family as intelligent, erudite, kind, and humorous, just read too much Thoreau and Jack London and lose sight of the perils of venturing into the forest alone? Krakauer offers some explanations by examining the draw that the outdoors has had on his own life, which has taken him on excursions that have brought him to the treacherous heights of Everest.
Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union
What if, as Franklin Roosevelt had suggested, Alaska—rather than Israel—had been chosen as the Jewish people’s homeland following the Second World War? In Michael Chabon’s Yiddish-speaking novel “Alyeska,” Orthodox gangs dressed in knee breeches and side curls prowl the streets of Sitka, where Detective Meyer Landsman finds the body of a heroin-addled chess prodigy in the flophouse he shares with his roommate. Back to the charismatic Rebbe Gold’s hands, the head of a sect whose guiding principles appear to have been inspired by the Cosa Nostra. Meyer is adamant about unravelling the murder’s significance. Even if doing so requires giving up his badge and his dignity to his dreaded ex-wife Bina, the head of Sitka’s homicide section.
Poorly Behaving Dolls through Cinthia Ritchie
It is the year 1735. A group of French researchers embarks on a decade-long voyage to South America in an effort to calculate the earth’s circumference and enlighten a society that is eager for new information. A scientist and a stunning Peruvian noblewoman developed an unexpected love relationship as a result of this incredible adventure. Jean Godin and Isabel Gramesón were victims of a complex web of international intrigues, and their fate would ultimately play out in the harsh jungles of the Amazon. Isabel’s search to find Jean after a tragic twenty-year separation would attract the attention of all of eighteenth-century Europe. Isabel Gramesón’s survival is still unique in the history of Amazon exploration, serving as a stunning example of human tenacity, feminine resourcefulness, and unfailing devotion.
1. James A. Michener’s Alaska
“James A. Michener leads us through Alaska’s rugged geography and history, from the long-forgotten past to the bustling present, in this grand epic of the northernmost American frontier.”
2. Jack London’s White Fang, The Call of the Wild, and Other Stories
The spoiled pet Buck is taken from his house and forced to work as a sled dog during the Klondike Gold Rush in Jack London’s elemental classic, “The Call of the Wild, about a dog learning to survive in the wilderness. In the Canadian Yukon Territory’s freezing tundra and boreal woodlands, White Fang tells the tale of a wolf-dog hybrid that must struggle to survive in a society that is just as savage as the rest of nature.
3. Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone
“In Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone, a desperate family seeks a fresh start in the nearly remote wilderness of Alaska only to discover that the unpredictable surroundings are less dangerous than the erratic behaviour found in human nature.”
4. Velma Wallis’ Two Old Women
‘This is the suspenseful, shocking, ultimately inspirational tale of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine,’ the book’s subtitle reads. It is based on an Athabascan Indian legend that has been passed down from mothers to daughters of the upper Yukon River Valley in Alaska for many generations.
5. The Firecracker Boys by Dan O’Neill “
Edward Teller, the inventor of the H-bomb, revealed his proposal to explode six nuclear bombs off the coast of Alaska in order to build a new harbour in 1958. A small group of Eskimos and scientists, who were successful in stopping the plan, prevented huge nuclear destruction that may have been even worse than the Chernobyl explosion. The Firecracker Boys tells the tale of the courageous individuals who pushed back against the U.S. government’s hubris and deceit, sparking the nation’s environmental movement.
6. Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild
“Krakauer’s page-turning bestseller tackles a renowned missing person investigation while solving the greater puzzles it contains: the profound attractiveness of high-risk activities to young men of a specific mindset; the intricate, fraught relationship between fathers and sons.”
7. Jennifer Niven’s Ada Blackjack
“In a covert attempt to colonise lonely Wrangel Island for Great Britain, four young men and Ada Blackjack, a small 25-year-old Eskimo woman, travelled far into the Arctic in September 1921. Ada Blackjack, the only survivor of this daring polar journey, was discovered two years later.
8. Christine Byl’s Dirt Work
A vibrant and poetic narrative of one woman’s odd apprenticeship on a national park trail crew and the lessons she learns about nature, gender, and the importance of hard work.
9. Eva Saulitis’ Into Great Silence
As an endangered family of orcas is documented by a whale researcher, science and human heart issues are intertwined.
10. Dave Eggers’ Heroes of the Frontier
Heroes of the Frontier is a compelling, frequently amusing novel about family, loss, the wilderness, and the curse of a violent America. It is also a stirring tale of adventure.