Braving It by James Campbell
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 10th, 2016 by Crown
The powerful and affirming story of a father's journey with his teenage daughter to the far reaches of Alaska
Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, home to only a handful of people, is a harsh and lonely place. So when James Campbell’s cousin Heimo Korth asked him to spend a summer building a cabin in the rugged Interior, Campbell hesitated about inviting his fifteen-year-old daughter, Aidan, to join him: Would she be able to withstand clouds of mosquitoes, the threat of grizzlies, bathing in an ice-cold river, and hours of grueling labor peeling and hauling logs?
But once there, Aidan embraced the wild. She even agreed to return a few months later to help the Korths work their traplines and hunt for caribou and moose. Despite windchills of 50 degrees below zero, father and daughter ventured out daily to track, hunt, and trap. Under the supervision of Edna, Heimo’s Yupik Eskimo wife, Aidan grew more confident in the woods.
Campbell knew that in traditional Eskimo cultures, some daughters earned a rite of passage usually reserved for young men. So he decided to take Aidan back to Alaska one final time before she left home. It would be their third and most ambitious trip, backpacking over Alaska’s Brooks Range to the headwaters of the mighty Hulahula River, where they would assemble a folding canoe and paddle to the Arctic Ocean. The journey would test them, and their relationship, in one of the planet’s most remote places: a land of wolves, musk oxen, Dall sheep, golden eagles, and polar bears.
At turns poignant and humorous, Braving It is an ode to America’s disappearing wilderness and a profound meditation on what it means for a child to grow up—and a parent to finally, fully let go.
Most of you I bet have seen those photos that have someone reading a book and above that book are multiple pictures of what it could contain. It actually was like that for me while reading this book the author’s writing is breathtakingly descriptive, almost in a poetic way so it felt like the images were jumping off the pages with the majestic and mesmerizing prose. Braving It is Chock-full of interesting facts regarding Alaska and the Arctic Circle area, the animals that live there, how people live in the bush, there is just so much great information packed into this book what I previously mentioned could fit on the tip of a needle.
James and Aidan go on three separate adventures in Alaska each one very different from the last. Therefore, each magnificent in its own way. The conditions that they endure are intense with daily survival always at the forefront of their minds. In addition to, you will be impressed with what 15-year-old Aidan is able to do and handle in such extreme conditions. Very few individuals older than Aidan could have endured what she did.
Campbell outdid himself writing an outdoor book, unlike others I have ever read before putting Braving It up at the top with the best of them. I am looking forward to reading all his other books.
“Thank you, Blogging for Books, for allowing me to give an honest opinion”
Author, adventurer, and producer James Campbell is a native of Wisconsin, where he lives with his wife and three daughters. He has written stories for Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Military History, Backpacker, Audubon, Field and Stream, and many other magazines and newspapers. His first book, The Final Frontiersman was chosen by Amazon in 2004 as the #1 Outdoor title of the Year and one of the Top 50 books of the Year and by the Midwest Booksellers Association as one of the Top 2 nonfiction titles of the year. His fascination with New Guinea and the war in the South Pacific led him to the story of the 32nd Division, the Ghost Mountain Boys, and his book of the same name. In 2006, he followed the route of the Ghost Mountain Boys across New Guinea -- a journey that historians describe as "one of the cruelest in military history" -- and shot a documentary film in the process. His story, “Chasing Ghosts,” about that expedition, which appeared in the May 2007 issue of Outside magazine, was chosen for The Best American Travel Writing 2008. The Ghost Mountain Boys: Their Epic March and the Terrifying Battle for New Guinea – the Forgotten War of the South Pacific was chosen as a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and History and Military BOMC selections. It also won the 2008 RR Donnelley Literary Award, given for the highest literary achievement by a Wisconsin author. Campbell’s newest book, Braving It: A Father, A Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild will be released by Penguin-Random House in May 2016.
Campbell is the co-Executive Producer of the Discovery Channel series, The Last Alaskans, which was inspired by his first book, The Final Frontiersman.