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Finding True North: First-Hand Stories of the Booms that Built Modern Alaska Kindle Edition
Melting sea ice and rumbling volcanoes. Sled dogs racing through unnamed valleys.
These were the images that came to mind when Molly Rettig moved to Fairbanks, Alaska to work as a reporter at the local newspaper. An avid environmentalist, she couldn’t wait to explore the vast, untamed spaces that had largely been paved over on the east coast. But when her 72-year-old neighbor, Clutch, invites her on a tour of his gold mine—an 800-foot tunnel blasted into the side of his house–she begins to question many of her ideas about Alaska, and about herself.
In Finding True North, Rettig takes us on a gripping journey through Alaska's past that brings alive the state's magnificent country and its quirky, larger-than-life characters. She meets a trapper who harvests all she needs from the land, a bush pilot who taught himself how to fly, and an archaeologist who helped build an oil pipeline through pristine wilderness. While she learns how airplanes, mines, and oil fields have paved the way for newcomers like herself, she also stumbles upon a bigger question: what has this quest for Alaska’s natural resources actually cost, and how much more is at stake?
This is a book about all the ways wild places teach us about ourselves. Rettig writes both playfully and honestly about how one place can be many things to many people—and how all of it can be true.
"This is a book about Alaska as a homeland, with its many quandaries. And about how its author, by listening to those who have long lived here, found her own home."
—Anchorage Daily News
“Molly Rettig, in her book debut, shares stories from Alaska's gold rush, airplane age and oil boom, and how Alaska changed ‘from a land of subsistence to a land of resource development.’ She blends these stories with her own, ending up with a memoir of a young, adventurous person from the East Coast, trying to come to terms with a place—and people—full of contradictions.”
"A finely wrought series of portraits depicting humans’ impact on the largest American state."
Named as a "Favorite Book of the North from 2021" by Anchorage Daily News--This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B08R96MFR7
- Publisher : University of Alaska Press (March 15, 2021)
- Publication date : March 15, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 2454 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 201 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,550,360 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"Finding True North" makes us think more deeply and guides us to possible solutions. Molly is successful here because of her ability to listen. Molly arrives in Alaska with well formed views about the importance of protecting our environment and the dangers of exploiting nature's limited and valuable resources. Throughout her Alaskan journey she continues to cherish and be guided by these values. Molly also, however, listens to the people who inhabit, live, survive in Alaska -- their love of the land and the individual freedom they have. For some this means the freedom to mine for gold without needless bureaucratic red tape for others the freedom to live traditionally and have the land necessary to do this. It is this individual freedom that draws or keeps many in Alaska -- the same freedom our founders talked about in the Declaration of Independence. So, how do we reconcile individual freedom and the regulations necessary to safeguard our precious resources? You don't do it from an office in Washington, D.C. Molly lives in this environment -- hiking, cross country skiing, camping in remote areas, raising a family -- and thus can truly appreciate it. She listens to and learns from her neighbors. She also knows that like virtually all Americans she enjoys and often takes for granted the resources such as oil that come from Alaska and threaten the land she loves. "Finding True North" is the result of loving and living in the Alaskan environment, listening with an open mind to what her fellow Alaskans treasure about Alaska, and being aware of how unquestioningly dependent we have become on luxuries fueled by nature's limited resources.
In these times of horrible news and stalled politics, this book offers hope that we can listen and learn from each other. The first hand stories and photos show both the rugged beauty of Alaska and the individuals who treasure the land and their freedom. Both must be cherished and any real solution must protect both.
Simply put, Molly Rettig's reporting and writing are precise and compelling, matching her expansive subjects. The book's scenes are vivid (mini-spoiler alert): Al’s fiery plane crash; Josh and your painful slog in the backcountry; Mike’s discovery of the projectile points; Clutch’s tour of the mine shaft; and Julie’s skills in the outdoors are among the many highlights. The author's skills are well matched with the scope of Alaksa tell this incredible saga.
I loved how Molly connected her personal journey as a fairly recent resident to Alaska to her adventures traveling through her new state while writing Finding True North. A gifted journalist, Molly has captured the enchantment of her beloved state and the dilemmas facing it.
Finding True North is a must read for anyone looking for an entertaining and unbiased awareness of our 49th state.