Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Looking for Alaska” as Want to Read:
Looking for Alaska
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Looking for Alaska

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,231 Ratings  ·  134 Reviews
More than twenty years ago, a disillusioned college graduate named Peter Jenkins set out with his dog Cooper to look for himself and his nation. His memoir of what he found, A Walk Across America, captured the hearts of millions of Americans.

Now, Peter is a bit older, married with a family, and his journeys are different than they were. Perhaps he is looking for adventure,
Paperback, 448 pages
Published September 14th 2002 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Looking for Alaska, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Looking for Alaska

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Rex Fuller
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Outstanding. On the nail-head description of Alaska. Focused on family, and people, as well as the awesome beauty.

Disclosure: recently, I drove from the Chesapeake Bay to Prudhoe Bay and back. The Alaska portion was some fourteen hundred miles: the Alaskan Highway on the Canadian border to Fairbanks, then north via the Haul Road to the Arctic Ocean, south to Denali National Park and Preserve and on to Anchorage, then the swing northeast around the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, a
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best travel/nature books I have ever read! And I've read a few, especially on "the frozen North". I've read other Peter Jenkins books and they are all good but this one I did not want to end. I guess, of the books of his I've read, this one and his first one were my favorites. I will probably never get to see Alaska so this really was the next best thing and I thank him for that with all my heart! I wish there had been more photos but it was a pretty big book as it was so I g ...more
Aug 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
I really enjoy Peter Jenkins’ writing style because I found it to be so accessible. He writes sort of like I think…as in, when I’m traveling about and am narrating in my head. That’s how he writes, if that makes sense. Well, it does to me.

In reading Jenkins book, Looking for Alaska, I feel as though the experience can be likened to going on a really great guided tour in a museum, like the one they give at the King Tut exhibit or one, perhaps, at the British Museum or Louvre. You aren’t actually
From an outsider's point of view, never being anywhere near Alaska, this book was a riveting read. I almost lost it when some of the inhabitants shared their experiences with bears, especially the man who got his skull cracked by one! Peter Jenkins reflected a complete Alaskan landscape, including the humor with which some inhabitants go about their daily tough lives. The hardships and daily adventures explains why the inhabitants are different from the rest of America. There's a purer form of i ...more
May 01, 2009 rated it liked it
In the mid-1970's an article appeared in National Geographic about Peter Jenkins a disillusioned college student who set out from upstate New York with his dog Cooper to walk across America. In those turbulent social and political times he was hoping to discover some truths about himself, his country and his place in it. (What I found truly remarkable was that he audaciously walked into the National Geographic offices when he was hiking through Washington, D.C. and proposed that he do an article ...more
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
I had read Peter Jenkin's Walk Across America and really enjoyed it. Because of this, when I saw Looking For Alaska on the shelf, I decided to snap it up. While I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the other, it was still interesting and Jenkins is still a great writer.

Many years from his first book, Walk Across America, Jenkins has almost grown kids of his own and has explored many places of the world and America. His next stop is Alaska. Moving a portion of his family up (with the rest visiting
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. One of the best things about it was Jenkins and his accepting way of describing all the people he met and found fascinating. I listened to the audio book and could hardly wait to get into my car so I could hear what happened next. I went right to my library and checked out "A Walk Across America." I always thought I might like to live in Alaska, as it seemed to have much in common with my favorite place the Upper Peninsula of MI. NOT! It does have some things in common, but Al ...more
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
A solid book. Some parts a slow, but a lot of it is really good. The peek at "normal-day life" Alaska is awesome. It's very uplifting the faith that Peter Jenkins has in strangers and the amazing people's stories that he gets to tell on account of it. Makes me want to get out in the world and make new friends. Keep it up Peter.
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Overall this book was a great read. I felt like I was getting small but informative glimpses into other people's lives—and there are several different ways to go about living in Alaska. Everyone there is presented as a bit wild and fiercely independent, although some are more independent than others. There are breathtaking natural wonders everywhere, and nature (sometimes in the form of dangerous black and brown bears) can always come to knock at your door. It is possible to live in towns that a ...more
Jun 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: vacation, library, own
I'll be honest, my opinion of this book is not unbiased. I was one of the many people who found Walk Across America to be a formative piece that sowed the seeds of wanderlust in me at a young age. Then later on I found Jenkins' book about his journey of faith, and that really excited me because I like it when people I look up to share my faith. It seems pretty clear from this book that Jenkins has left most of that behind. Now divorced, he rarely talked about God in a book about Alaska. If you c ...more
Oct 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Another wonderful book by Peter Jenkins. Years ago I savored "A Walk Across America" and "A Walk Out West (Walk Across America II, joined by his new wife).

He visits representative regions of Alaska and touches and is touched by the people he meets.

The most magical part of the book for me was the description of gathering the root Mussu the first part of September on the Tundra. The women go out and look for small disturbances where mice have built a cache of Mussu and trade the Mussu for vegeta
Heath Fisher
Dec 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2015
Mostly interesting travel writing almost ruined by the author's narration of the audiobook. Without exaggeration, the WORST narrator I've ever listened to. He seemed surprised that his sentences weren't finished at certain points, would rush through dialogue exchanges in a monotone robot voice, and even repeated lines when he'd messed them up. It's like it was recorded in his basement man cave using garageband but with zero post-production. Still, I suspect the reading (and not listening) of thi ...more
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-bought-new
I've never been to Alaska, but I've fallen a bit in love with the idea of the place. That, combined with my love for snow dogs and slight obsession with the Iditarod, drew me to this book, which I found really delightful armchair travel. Jenkins makes you wish you were there alongside him and his friends in the Alaskan bush at 50 below. His profiles of the people of the great state just fuel my travel lust. A great read....I've read Jenkins' first and now his most recent book, and will likely ev ...more
Sep 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a book that my Dad gave me to read. I wasn't really excited at the time, but this is a truly fascinating book. Those braving the winters in the Alaskan wilderness risk their lives to survive the winter as part of their everyday existence. I'll take my heat, highways, cable TV and supermarket any day, but now I appreciate it more.
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Purchased this book from a Library sale, and couldn't be happier. Peter Jenkins writing is engaging, and rather than reading like the travel guide that it could be, it reads like a blog. He and his family moved to Alaska, living there for 18 months, and he writes about the places he visited very vividly. Loved it!
ag Berg
Apr 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Again Peter Jenkins makes you feel like you are with him on his travels. His beautiful descriptions of Alaska and the people he came to know and sometimes live with are rich with detail. He paints Alaska as the raw, wild an incredible place that it is. Capturing its aura through countless tails of adventure that keep you on the edge of your seat. A thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining book.
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book made me re-think ever moving to Alaska. I don't want to get eaten by a bear. Great look at many aspects of the state. Anyone who wants to visit might want to read this book first.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Oof. This one was slow going, partly because I kept stopping to look up the fascinating places that Jenkins visited, and partly because Peter Jenkins is a mediocre writer. Let's start with the good: this book opens up Alaska, a place very different from anywhere I have lived. Alaska is a land where most people live one mishap away from death. Alaskans are self-sufficient and defiant of a system the rest of us have bought into, which supports the less fortunate of us. In Alaska, you can shoot a b ...more
Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This kind of book isn’t my usual style, I tend to be geared more towards fiction, but I thought it was pretty good. I particularly enjoyed the stories about the run in with bears he heard from the locals. He also did a good job of making me feel like I was actually in Alaska, very descriptive with the surroundings and the feelings of where he was. The only negative thing I really have to say is that there were quite a few times it felt like he was advertising for certain brands for things like t ...more
Sep 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Up until this point, every Jenkins book I've read has either been 5 Starts on my Favorites list. This one was a little disappointing because it consisted of vignettes opposed to a linear adventure (the reason I enjoy reading his books). If you're going to read a Jenkins book, I highly recommend beginning with A Walk Across America and A Walk West opposed to Looking for Alaska.
Joanne Kelly
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was the last of a list of books about Alaska I read before taking a cruise down the Inside Passage. I wish I had started with this one. I liked Jenkins and was fascinated by his descriptions of the people he met and the places he visited, especially the whale hunt with the Eskimos and the week with the family deep in the Alaskan wilds in the middle of winter.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As an Alaskan, I enjoyed this book of an outsiders perspective of my favorite state! Well written, easy and enjoyable read.
Bradford Huntsman
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this book in 2007 as I drove from Idaho to Alaska. What a great story teller. He meets some amazing people on his journey. It made me love alaska so much more.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stories about Alaska and the people who live there have my heart. Jenkins brought his intimate storytelling of Alaskan natives to life in this book. Loved every second and keep going back to it!
Margaret R
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book. I learned a lot and wish I had read it before we went to Alaska. It is a great place to visit.
Paul Hanson
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: alaska
Alaska wilderness adventures with a significant range of travel.
Although written and experienced many years ago I still found his descriptions of the scenery,animals, and people helpful in understanding Alaska.
Jennifer Harris Smith
Oct 20, 2017 rated it did not like it

Not engaging
Narration is impossible
Might be better in paper book
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
50 States and At Least 50 Authors 2018 Reading Challenge. ALASKA.

Peter Jenkins moved his family to Seward, Alaska for a year and a half. While there, they learned about all sorts of wildlife. Peter went sport fishing and commercial fishing. He learned about dogs and sledding from a man near Denali who competes in the Iditarod. He went to Talkeetna to observe the Auction of Bachelors. He, his wife, and youngest daughter visited a very remote home in the Brooks Range in the winter. He spent time i
Apr 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book sort of confounded me. The fourth star is because the stories were interesting, but there was something sort about Jenkins's writing. I haven't read "A Walk Across America," but this one was just wandering and nostalgic and unfocused. Normally I don't have a problem with those three things, especially in travel writing, but this was to the point that I just didn't even understand how one sentence followed another. And in some cases, even a single sentence didn't really make se ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Before They're Gone: A Family's Year-Long Quest to Explore America's Most Endangered National Parks
  • Bill Bryson Box Set:  Three Vols. A Walk In The Woods, Notes From A Big Country, Notes From A Small Island
  • Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson's Secret White House Tapes 1964-65
  • Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo
  • A Year in the Maine Woods
  • Time Bandit: Two Brothers, the Bering Sea, and One of the World's Deadliest Jobs
  • Being Caribou: Seven Months on Foot with an Arctic Herd
  • Paris: The Collected Traveler
  • The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas
  • Travels in Alaska
  • Shackleton's Forgotten Men: The Untold Tragedy of the Endurance Epic
  • The Only Kayak: A Journey into the Heart of Alaska
  • Walking with Spring
  • Up: A Mother and Daughter's Peakbagging Adventure
  • Pass the Butterworms: Remote Journeys Oddly Rendered
  • One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey
  • The Blue Bear: A True Story of Friendship and Discovery in the Alaskan Wild
  • The Man Who Walked Through Time: The Story of the First Trip Afoot Through the Grand Canyon
Born July 8th, 1951 in Greenwich, Connecticut,

Peter is the eldest of the six children of Frederick and Mary Jenkins.

Graduated from Greenwich High School in 1969.

Attended Woodstock in summer of 1969.

Graduated from Alfred University in 1973 with a BFA, majoring in Sculptor/ Ceramics.
Began his Walk Across America on October 15, 1973 in Alfred, New York. It ended in mid-January of 1979 in Florence, Or
More about Peter Jenkins

Nonfiction Deals

  • Rumi: The Big Red Book: The Great Masterpiece Celebrating Mystical Love and Friendship
    $10.74 $1.99
  • I Will Teach You To Be Rich
    $13.95 $1.99
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    $10.99 $2.99
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
    $11.74 $2.99
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are
    $9.99 $2.99
  • I'm Just a Person
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Professor & the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity & the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
    $9.74 $2.99
  • The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
    $8.24 $1.99
  • The Public Library: A Photographic Essay
    $27.99 $4.99
  • The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman
    $12.99 $1.99
  • A Man Without a Country
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Murphy's Boy
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace
    $14.95 $1.99
  • The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War 1890-1914
    $14.99 $1.99
  • The Heart of Meditation: Discovering Innermost Awareness
    $12.99 $1.99
  • History of God
    $5.99 $1.99
  • My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir
    $9.49 $1.99
  • The Essential Rumi
    $10.24 $1.99
  • The Name of God Is Mercy: A Conversation with Andrea Tornielli
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood
    $10.74 $2.99
  • Last Hope Island: Britain, Occupied Europe, and the Brotherhood That Helped Turn the Tide of War
    $13.99 $1.99
  • How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece
    $8.24 $1.99
  • How to Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays (A Harvest Book)
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Kingdom by the Sea: A Journey Around the Coast of Great Britain
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914
    $6.99 $2.99
  • No Limits: Blow the CAP Off Your Capacity
    $9.99 $2.99
“Talk is cheap and easy; making dreams real takes hard, humble work. Dreams in the Midwest are acceptable, just keep them to yourself. Maybe tell your family, but don't just talk—do something about it.” 14 likes
“It was as if we'd only been gone the weekend. Or had we been gone a lifetime. Part of that was because when you've lived in Alaska, living in other places seems easier, less challenging, less threatening. Alaska had enlarged each of us. No one is ever the same after coming back from Alaska.” 7 likes
More quotes…