The Final Frontiersman
Heimo Korth and His Family, Alone in Alaska's Arctic WildernessBook - 2004
A portrait of the late Alaskan bush frontiersman, told by his cousin, traces his family's adventures on the land's frozen and remote outreaches, describing his unhappy childhood, decision to move his wife and two daughters to the bush, steadfast cultivation of survival skills, and untimely death. 35,000 first printing.
Simon and Schuster
In the bestselling tradition of Into the Wild and The Last American Man, an intimate portrait of how one man and his family thrive in the most remote of American landscapes: Alaska's Arctic wilderness.
Hundreds of hardy people have tried to carve a living in the Alaskan bush, but few have succeeded as consistently as Heimo Korth. Originally from Wisconsin, Korth came to Alaska in his twenties, and he never left. Across the years, he's carved out a subsistence life like no other--a life bounded by the migrating caribou herds, by the dangers of suddenly swollen rivers, and by the very exigencies of daily survival.
Journalist James Campbell has spent two years documenting the lives of Heimo, his wife, Edna, and their teenage daughters, Rhonda and Krin, and he paints their portraits in vivid detail: evenings listening to the distant voices from the radio's Trapline Chatter show; months spent waiting for the odd small plane to bring supplies; years relying on hard-learned hunting and survival skills that are all that stand between the family and a terrible fate. But it's a complicated existence, too, of encroaching environmental pressures and the fear that this life might be disappearing forever--and how will his two teenage daughters react when one of them goes back to "civilization" for her high school years?
But always at the center there's Heimo Korth, a man who escaped a tough father and a circumscribed life, then reinvented himself in the Alaskan wilderness, only to witness the most unbearable of tragedies, a tragedy that keeps him and his family tied to this inhospitable and beautiful land forever.
By turns inspiring and downright jolting, James Campbell's extraordinary book reads like a rustic version of the American Dream--and reveals for the very first time a life undreamed of by most of us, outside of the mainstream, alone in a stunning wilderness that for now, at least, remains the final frontier.