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Cover art for Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier

Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier

Written by Tom Kizzia
Alaskana

“Into the Wild meets Helter Skelter in this riveting true story of a modern-day homesteading family in the deepest reaches of the Alaskan wilderness – and of the chilling secrets of its maniacal, spellbinding patriarch.”

This is the tagline you’ll see over and over when you look this book up and it’s a great description. Alaska’s uneasy relationship with “the Feds” is a real and true thing, especially in some of the more remote areas, and this book caught all the fire of the Alaskan struggle with its questioning-authority attitude.

In 2002, when the Pilgrim family, a curious group that included a husband and wife and their 14 children, showed up in remote McCarthy, Alaska, and homesteaded in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, their pioneer spirit, independent nature, religious piety, and throwback ideals were embraced by the frontier community. Then, their bulldozers and disregard for neighbors begins to reflect the dark shadows that eventually encompass the Pilgrim family.

This book is well-written, well-researched and an excellent read. I remember following this story in the papers, and this book rounded out the story in a perfectly satisfying manner.

Recommended by LouAnn

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