First Wilderness: My Quest In The Territory Of Alaska by Sam KeithFirst Wilderness: My Quest In The Territory Of Alaska by Sam Keith

First Wilderness: My Quest In The Territory Of Alaska

bySam KeithForeword byNick JansAfterword byLaurel Keith Lies

Paperback | September 15, 2014

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Fans of the Alaskan classic ONE MAN'S WILDERNESS will enjoy reading this memoir, of how its author, Sam Keith, and its subject, Dick Proenneke, first met.
After serving as a US Marine during World War II and attending college on the GI Bill, Sam Keith decided to seek adventure and acceptance in Alaska. He arrived on Kodiak Island in July, 1952, where he secured a job as a laborer on the Adak Navy base.
He befriended a group of like-minded men there, including Dick Proenneke, who shared a love of the outdoors, hard work and self-reliance. Keith explored the wilds of South Central Alaska while working on the Navy base, and later as a Stream Guard and Enforcement Patrolman. In his hunting and fishing trips with Dick and his friends, Keith found almost everything he sought.
But at the end of three years, Keith decided to go Outside to pursue other dreams. Dick Proenneke tells him, "Sam, you know right well you don't want to leave this country. Don't give up on it. Me and you got to figure something out."
In 1973, Keith went on to write ONE MAN'S WILDERNESS: AN ALASKAN ODYSSEY, based on his dear friend's journals and photography. It was reissued in 1999 and won a National Outdoor Book Award (NOBA). In 2003, portions of text from the book and some of Proenneke's 16mm movies were used in Alone in the Wilderness, which began appearing on US public television stations. The documentary follows Proenneke as he builds a log cabin with only hand tools, and includes reflections on wildlife, weather, and the natural scenery he sees around him.
Sam Keith passed away in 2003. But in 2013, his son-in-law, children's book author/illustrator Brian Lies, discovered a book manuscript in an archive box in their garage, originally written in 1974 after the publication of ONE MAN'S WILDERNESS.
FIRST WILDERNESS is the story of Keith's own experiences, at times harrowing, funny and fascinating. Along with the original manuscript are photos and excerpts from his journals, letters, and notebooks, woven in to create a compelling and poignant memoir of search and discovery.
Sam Keith's (1921- March 28, 2003) most notable work was the best-seller ONE MAN'S WILDERNESS: AN ALASKAN ODYSSEY in which he edited the journals and photographs of his friend Richard Proenneke's (May 4, 1916 - April 20, 2003) solo experiences in Alaska. The book was reissued in 1999 and won a National Outdoor Book Award. Text from the...
Title:First Wilderness: My Quest In The Territory Of AlaskaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:September 15, 2014Publisher:Graphic Arts BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:194182109X

ISBN - 13:9781941821091

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting I enjoyed traveling to Alaska with the author. It is a trip I will probably never take otherwise.
Date published: 2017-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Relaxing This book allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of your everyday life as you follow Dick's journey of solitude and living off the land in beautiful Alaska.
Date published: 2017-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dick's journal in his own words. My favorite pbs series. This was given to me for Christmas. A nice book for anyone who dreams of Alaskan adventure.
Date published: 2017-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One Man's Wilderness What an incredible life.....lived the way many of us only dream of.....appreciating nature in an environment not yet ruined by humans.
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Calming read Calming read & soothing to the soul, helps the mind escape from busy, stressful city life. There is joy in living a simple life.
Date published: 2015-05-25

Read from the Book

EXCERPT TWO FROM FOURTH DAYAbout three o'clock it began to lighten. Frost silvered the grass around us and glinted on the canvas. Our breaths steamed. The bay was emptying. Rivulets ran out over the sand past the blocky buttes and trickled into puddles, and then on past the kelp litter and clam shells to catch up with the fast ebbing tide. With the coming of light, the tidal flat awakened. A few gulls sailed their patrols, while crowds of them waded in the shallow puddles that shimmered among the islands. A shabby fox moped along the beach edge, nosing here and there. Loud whistles shattered the air with a piercing abruptness. A pair of blackish birds, smaller than crows, teetered on a rock pile. Their long red bills and bright red eyes demanded a closer scrutiny. They walked over the rocks as if they wore flapping overshoes. I recognized them as oystercatchers, but I was too chilled to be excited. I looked again at a margin of brush I had looked at only seconds before. A bear was growing out of it! He moved massively, like a monstrous raised turtle, slinging his forepaws in looping, pigeon-toed strides. His sloping hind quarters shuffled along behind as if they had difficulty keeping up with the rest of him. His shoulders bulged with crawling movements, and he swung his grizzled head from side to side as he came. Now he stopped to turn at a driftwood log with a raking of claws, examined it as if not really interested, and came on tiredly, leaving his crooked trail in the silt. "Mac. Mac," I whispered, "look . . . " The bear was less than two hundred yards away and drawing closer. "God! God Almighty," breathed Mac. "Take him," Dick hissed, "take him now." "I got to-get rid-get rid of these goddamn shakes," quavered Mac. "I got to-" "Down on your belly and bust 'im." "I'll miss him. Christ, I'm shaking so much that the rifle's got joints in it." In desperation, Mac crawled back from the bluff edge. He was doing deep-knee bends, swinging his arms across his chest, and jogging his legs up and down. "C'mon," Dick whispered sharply. "This ain't no gym." "A little closer," begged Mac. "I don't want to miss. Christ, even my words are shaking." The night chill not only shook his body; it had shaken his confidence. The rifle trembled in his hands as he crawled like an infantryman through the frost to the birch clump. "Now. Now," urged Dick. I waited for the shot to crash. It never came. Suddenly the bear swerved and with an incredibly quick motion crashed into the brush. Mac whimpered and cursed. Dick looked at me. He took a deep breath and swelled his cheeks as he blew it out. "That's one lucky bear," Dick said. I thought Mac was going to cry.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Foreword by Nick Jans Map of Alaska with inset of Kodiak/Lake Clark/Kenai region Introduction/Buried Treasure by Brian Lies Preface Longings Chapter 1 Out of the Nest Chapter 2 The Jumping-Off Place Chapter 3 The Transplanting Chapter 4 Taking Hold Chapter 5 Local Color Chapter 6 Winter Smorgasbord Chapter 7 Days of the Bear Chapter 8 Summer Sojourns Chapter 9 Kenai Moose Hunt Chapter 10 Comings and Goings Chapter 11 The Kittiwake Chapter 12 The Bay of the Winds Chapter 13 Enforcement Patrolman Chapter 14 Driving Out Epilogue A Nest of my Own Afterword On His Shoulders by Laurel Keith Lies

Editorial Reviews

"I was so excited to read this book! I love ONE MAN'S WILDERNESS and the inspiring account of self-discovery by Sam Keith is a great companion to that. I can't wait to share it with readers."-Joni, Maria's Bookshop, Durango, CO.