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The Final Frontiersman: Heimo Korth and His Family, Alone in Alaska's Arctic Wilderness
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The Final Frontiersman: Heimo Korth and His Family, Alone in Alaska's Arctic Wilderness

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  794 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
The inspiration for The Last Alaskans—the eight-part documentary series on Animal Planet! Called “[one of] the greatest life-or-death-tales ever told” (Esquire), James Campbell’s inimitable insider account of a family’s nomadic life in the unshaped Arctic wilderness “is an icily gripping, intimate profile that stands up well beside Krakauer’s classic [Into the Wild], and i ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 13th 2005 by Atria Books (first published 2004)
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Jan 04, 2009 Amber rated it it was amazing
Shelves: desert-island
I've had a hard time convincing people to read this book. My mom pestered me to read this for almost a year, and I reluctantly picked it up from the library. It is now one of my favorite books.

If you think rugged individualism, environmental stewardship, integrity, and, old-school family values are dead, read this book. It is truly inspiring to see a man and his family build a fulfilling, simple, happy life in one of the most inhospitable places on earth.

The day-to-day challenges of living in su
I’ve read a series of books lately starting with “On Trails” and continuing with “Last Frontiersman” that have really made me question my definition of wilderness. Wilderness is other than human, the second humans move into it, it becomes frontier, at least that seems to be its definition to most people. This idea is not modern, always in religious texts the wilderness was away from civilization, in fairytales it’s the dark and dangerous background to the safety of civilization, and today its le ...more
Jun 28, 2009 Jen rated it liked it
I'm not into shows like Survivorman or Man Versus Wild, so maybe I'm not the target audience for this book, the true story of a man from Appleton who lives above the Artic Circle in the interior of Alaska. I learned a lot about Alaska and about trapping, which was interesting, but I felt the book was really poorly written. The author is Heimo's cousin, also from Appleton, and he seems unwilling to probe Heimo too much about the emotional impact of living as he does and the events of his life. It ...more
Jan 02, 2008 Dwight rated it it was amazing
The Final Frontiersman, written by James Campbell, published by Atria Books in 2004 is a biographical adventure selling for $25.00 in hardback, ISBN 0-7434-5313-1.

Mr. Campbell takes us into the wilderness of Arctic Alaska, to learn as his main character, Heimo Korth, learns a harsh, rich, new life which most of us wouldn’t have imagined. For me, the book illuminated both the struggle of survival in the wilderness and the heroic odyssey of a man who finds himself.

I honestly enjoyed this book wi
Aug 27, 2016 Ronald rated it it was ok
I have read another of Campbell's books and enjoy him as an author and I have read his other book that involved the Knouth family. I have also enjoyed reading about the wilderness life in Alaska this summer. The Final Frontiersman is a good book. I probably would have given it a 2.5 star if they had that option. My two complaints about this book was the interruption of the story line with historical background information. In a book of this type when the author starts that kind of thing I usuall ...more
Jul 06, 2012 John rated it really liked it
Want to live off the grid? Better read this first.

The author is brought out via chartered plane to visit Heimo Korth and his family on the Coleen River in Northwestern Alaska, hundreds of miles from the nearest road and seemingly centuries away from the hustle of Fort Yokun and Fairbanks. You learn of their daily hardships, and too the pleasures of being that far out in country. The Korth’s are trappers, and spend much of their time and energy adapting to the harsh cold and shifting weather of t
Jul 11, 2010 Rachel rated it it was amazing
This book is an exportation of the concept of "wilderness" and those who strive to find themselves in the American concept of wilderness. The book does a great job at contrasting the native cultural concept of wilderness as home and the need for community and the unique American concept of "finding oneself alone in the wilderness." I also appreciate how the book explores the female and family outlook on life on the frontier and how to cope with the loneliness. It is a great anthropological look ...more
Cushmant Cushman
Jan 12, 2013 Cushmant Cushman rated it liked it
interesting way of life, would have given it four stars but too much about government, I liked it though a lot
Jan 23, 2017 Jessica rated it really liked it
After reading Campbell's newest book Braving It about his adventures in Alaska with his daughter, I found out about this book - his first. I was familiar with the Korth family from the TV show The Last Alaskans, but this book really fleshed out their story a lot more. Campbell does a great job of giving Heimo's background and what drew him to Alaska, while also giving background on the homesteading movement in Alaska that took place during the 1960's and 70's. Campbell also gives background on t ...more
Shelly Mullen
Mar 14, 2017 Shelly Mullen rated it really liked it
This is the story of Heimo Korth, who, in the late 1970's, went to make a life for himself in the Alaskan bush. The nearest civilization was 200 miles away from him. He married and had 3 daughters. This book depicts the trials and tribulations of a nomadic lifestyle, living in a truly wild land, and living mostly off what the land has to offer. Only a very few can live this lifestyle. I highly recommend this book if you like Alaska, true stories, and the wilderness. Thanks to Pete Osmun for lend ...more
Kim Bakos
Feb 13, 2017 Kim Bakos rated it really liked it
A must read if you like the TV show "The Last Alaskans" - you really get to know Heimo, Edna and the girls by reading this book. If you like stories about people making it out in the wilderness, you'll love it, too. I'd have loved more about the family and less about the politics of land management, but that's just me. I'm sure some people want to know those how's and whys.
Lisa Holyk
Jan 03, 2017 Lisa Holyk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

As a huge fan of The Last Alaskans, I really loved this book and learning more of the back story of Heimo and Edna. Learning about their daughters, where he came he ended up in Alaska. Truly a very interesting story.
Bill Bame
Jan 31, 2017 Bill Bame rated it it was amazing
Easily one of my favorite books. This is this is the inspiration for the TV series the Last Alaskan. This book tells the story of Hiemo and Edna Korth and their family. We see the depth of their sacrifice and heartache of living in the Alaskan bush.
Feb 20, 2017 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have-read
Had a hard time understanding the strength and stamina it would take to live in such extreme conditions surprise ending for me
Jan 29, 2017 Blake rated it it was amazing
A remarkably great book which not only highlights the beauty of the Arctic wilderness, but the triumphs and tragedies of family, love, and death.
Oct 14, 2016 MountainShelby rated it really liked it
Shelves: polar-journeys
I really enjoyed this book. The narrative touches many points, from Heimo's background and personal experience of the Alaskan frontier, to the experiences of his immediate family, the community, and the Alaska land use debate. The author is Heimo's cousin, but he does a good job of interweaving his personal experience on site with the family while maintaining a relatively objective perspective. This is no tale of hero worship, and yet there's something admirable about the man and this fleeting l ...more
Having already read Braving It: A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild a few weeks ago, I felt it would be a good idea to read this book to get more of an insight into Heimo Korth and his family. If there is one thing I wish I had done, it's that I had read this book before Braving It. I feel as through this book fills in a lot of holes regarding Heimo and his family, and it would make the reading of the second book much richer.

Heimo Korth was a young man witho
Jul 18, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
The author, James Campbell, spent time with his cousin, Heimo Korth and family in 2002 Alaska to learn more about this rare subsistence trapper's way of life. Originally from Wisconsin, Heimo set out in the mid '70s and never looked back.

James' style of writing intertwines character studies of Heimo, his wife Edna, and their daughters Rhonda and Krin, with descriptions of the vast landscape, and the skills needed to survive in such an extreme place.
"Ala-aska", the Aleut Indians called it- "the
Ted Ryan
Jan 12, 2014 Ted Ryan rated it liked it
Subsistence living. No, not like you see on the Discovery Channel. The Korth's, the family at the center of this book, have lived a life of subsistence living unlike nearly anyone else living today and the author, James Campbell, tells the story capably. I've always liked to read memoirs and biographies of wilderness adventures, mountain climbing, river journeys, you name it. This is one of those stories.

This isn't a high energy book from start to finish, many of the tales don't compel you to ha
Angela Holland
Aug 23, 2015 Angela Holland rated it it was amazing
Scott and I are fans of the tv show The Last Alaskans so I thought it would be nice to learn more about my favorite family. Heimo and Edna seem like such geniune loving and nice people and after reading this book I have even more respect for both of them. The story starts with Heimo in his home town of Appleton, Wisconsin and moves on to his dream of moving to Alaska and how he came to live in the bush. Let me tell you it takes a very strong person to do what he has done. It is not for everyone. ...more
Dec 13, 2016 Tami marked it as to-read
Book Club - February
Apr 03, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it
A nicely crafted look at a vanishing way of life in a place that is threatened as much by modern wannabes as by those who would exploit its resources. Heimo and his family are impressive in the way they live and the relationship they have with the land and with nature. I found it most interesting to read this book during the Polar Vortex cold freeze, because the temperatures that were so awful to me would be a decent fall day for Heimo and Edna. I did have to sympathize with Edna and the girls, ...more
Jul 07, 2010 Nina rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
I found out about this book a year ago after watching this video and have wanted to read the book ever since. There is nothing like reading a book like this on South Beach, reading about -35 degree temps and trying to shield your eyes from staring at the naked boobs around you. That said I rate this book about 3.5 stars it would have been 4 stars but author did not organize it well. One moment he would be talking about the present the next he was talking ...more
Sep 01, 2012 Pam rated it really liked it
As a native of the Adirondacks, I admit I have romantic notions about living in the North Woods and perhaps that is why I am drawn to books about Alaska of which The Final Frontiersman is an excellent example. Heimo Korth and his family are interesting people and the reader grows quickly attached to their bravery and rugged determination. The book is full of stories about the wild, animals, plants, and the weather. James Campbell, who is actually Heimo's cousin from Wisconsin, does an example jo ...more
As a boy living in Paxon, Alaska I wanted to do what the subject of this book did, live as a mountain man with my dog and be a trapper. And while I had a dog team and had a trap line for a couple of weeks that didn't' catch a thing I certainly haven't lived the life of Heimo Korth. And thats ok. While the book suffered from frequent jumps back and forth in time in ways that I didn't feel had any rhyme or reason as the story emerged a vastly interesting story emerged that touches on Americas rela ...more
Aug 03, 2013 Ted rated it liked it
Interesting portrait of a highly unusual lifestyle. However, I felt like the subjects were holding back from the author. He doesn't really dig deep into how this isloated and extreme way of life affects them. I wanted to hear more about how they navigate the hardships of this life, like how a family of four can keep from going insane when faced with 24-hour darkness and bone-chilling temperatures hundreds of miles from any other human beings.

However, the book is still worth reading. The author s
Jul 25, 2013 Clint rated it it was amazing
I found that this book to be quite interesting. My wife and I have been talking about moving in the middle of nowhere. I am not that sure if this what she has in mind. After reading this book..WOW.

We live in Wisconsin, I will admit it gets cold here, but not -40. I love that Heimo never gives up his dream. The author shows what it is like to live with nobody, but you and your family for hundred of miles.

This is great book - especially for those that love the wilderness and the real life storie
Lance Gideon
Mar 03, 2011 Lance Gideon rated it it was amazing
UPDATE: I have to admit that continue to think back on this story often - its people, its tragedy, its landscapes. I needed to change my rating accordingly, because it is now obvious that this book is near perfect, and all of its parts are just as important as the next. I loved this story.

Great book - especially for those that love the wilderness and the real life stories of those that venture into God's vast creation. It's a bit long, and some of the pieces probably could have been left out, bu
Dec 12, 2009 Debra rated it really liked it
On one hand this is an adventure biography of a man who knew that he would never fit into the rat race life in his native Wisconsin. Moving to Alaska, he did what it took to establish himself as a subsistance trapper in the Arctic. Written by his cousin, the book gives an idea what his life (and that of his wife and two daughters) is like.

But it is also more -- wandering onto sidepaths of the role of wilderness in the western tradition, wilderness in literature, environmental politics, Alaskan h
Previous TCL Reviews
Dec 16, 2009 Previous TCL Reviews rated it really liked it
I believe that no matter where we live or grew up that leaving the everyday world to find our roots in nature is still a romantic notion. The Final Frontiersman is about a man who did just that. As an adult Heimo Korth moved to the Alaskan bush to live a subsistence lifestyle in the remote Arctic. He feed himself and later his family by hunting, fishing and trapping and dealt with the rewards and the hardships of living for months at a time without outside human contact. As the show business say ...more
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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 ...more
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“I settled into a rhythm—teaching the kids, tending the garden, canning, checking the fishnets, raising rabbits, hauling wood. All of that gave great purpose to my life.” 0 likes
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