By Ross E. Nelson on March 3, 2005
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
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
By Elizabeth on December 4, 2005
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.