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Braving It: A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey Into the Alaskan Wild

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  2,041 ratings  ·  335 reviews
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-ye
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by Crown Publishing Group (NY)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  2,041 ratings  ·  335 reviews

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Diane S ☔
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Have been reading this off and on throughout the past week and I have enjoyed everything about this amazing adventure story. Though it turned out to be so much more. James decided to take his daughter Sudan, fifteen, with him to Alaska to help his cousin Heimo build a new cabin. There Aidan will learn new skills, grow in confidence and experience something most never experience. They would return two other times, though their last trip would be the most difficult.

Reading about a way of life, a p
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of Braving It through the Giveaways on Goodreads. My appreciation to Penguin Random House and to James Campbell for the opportunity.

"We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us." (John Muir)

No finer words to describe any place of wonder that speaks to you. And Alaska has always harbored that voice inside of me. I lived there in 2013. James Campbell's reflections on Talkeetna, Palmer, and, of c
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
they say a book is good when it draws you into the story in a way that makes the story yours, as if you lived it too. This book achieved that for me ...I felt like i was the one hiking in the Alaskan wilderness, like i was the one kayaking in the hula-hula River along Aidan and James, I was able to experience the Alaskan wilderness as i read this book , its detailing was formidable and i feel like i am ready to go to Alaska now (not that I'm actually going to go This book was about a fa ...more
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of suspenseful outdoor adventure memoirs
Rated 4.5 - An excellent adventure memoir, BRAVING IT by James Campbell describes three thrilling expeditions into the Alaskan arctic wild with his daughter. It’s not just the individual journeys that are thrilling but the fact that a father and his fifteen-year-old daughter willingly went three times to brave the elements, when each experience threatens to break their adventurous spirit.

For more reviews, plus travel, garden and food topics with photos, visit The Zest Quest, my pursuit of a zest
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
It takes a certain kind of person to want to face the perils and hardships of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Grizzly bears, polar bears, wolverines, wolves and extremely bitter cold weather would soon make anyone hesitant to explore the area. But none of that deters James Campbell or his 15-year-old daughter, Aidan.

Campbell and his daughter actually make three trips to Alaska. The first is to help James’ cousin Heimo build a new cabin in the wilderness. The second time they return to
Angie Lathrop
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are so many reasons to love this book. I have read a lot of adventure travel memoirs and this was one of my favorites. Braving It is a beautifully written book about a father who elects to take his 15 year old daughter into the Alaskan bush. Once there, they have multiple adventures and the reader gets to go along for the ride. However, Braving It is not just a journey through the wilderness, but an emotional journey as well. Campbell does an excellent job depicting the very real struggles ...more
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Whether you are a thrill-seeking traveler, a wanderer, an avid adventurer, or a cautious introvert that prefers to limit their risky expeditions to their living room, you will likely enjoy Braving It. While I've always recognized myself as the latter, I'm happy to say that I've walked away from this book feeling considerably more like the first.

In Braving It, Campbell writes of three experiences he shared with his eldest daughter (just 15 years old) in the Arctic Wilderness. Without being wordy,
Jun 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This was an ok story, but I didn't love it. I thought it would be "more." Although the Alaskan wilderness is an extremely harsh place to live and visit, we already know that without reading this book. It was an interesting story of a father/daughter adventure, but it just wasn't very exciting. I learned a few new things, but much of it I already knew from reading other adventure books. I didn't particularly like the writing style. Much of the dialogue seemed juvenile and I wondered why the autho ...more
Randal White
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Campbell has penned a wonderful book about the bonding that occurred when he took his teenage daughter into the Alaskan wilderness on several trips. Not just any trip, but ones that involved building a cabin, spending a month on a trap line in the dead of winter, and hiking/canoeing an extremely difficult route. A somewhat typical teenager, we get to witness her growth into a confident, resourceful person. And witness the author's own fears and doubts as he confronts his own "slowing down" due
Leslye Davidson
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Listened to this and found the narrator so very annoying when he read as the daughter. It would have been better to keep his normal voice. The book was ok but the adventures felt repetitive and I felt myself drifting off on a regular basis, the true sign of a three star audio book.
Luanne Ollivier
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of thing I wish I could have done when I was younger. Seeing more of the world, being a little more adventures and taking chances. But, at this stage, I am just as happy to read about others' adventures.

That's the story in Braving It: A Father, A Daughter, and An Unforgettable Journey Into the Alaskan Wild by James Campbell.

James Campbell and his fifteen year old daughter Aidan headed to the Alaskan wilds not once, but three times. Winter and Summer. They visited Heimo Korth and
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"That is the thing about awe; beauty and fear are inseparable."

I have been to Alaska - in the wintertime - and loved every moment of it. But I never went north of Fairbanks and, even though I'd once considered moving to Alaska, after I visited that thought never crossed my mind again. It was just too big and too lonely for me.

It takes a special kind of person to live up there or even visit, especially in the sparsely populated outer northern reaches of Alaska. It IS one of the 50 United States b
Aidan is a young 15 years of age when she accompanies her father, James Campbell, into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Heimo Korth, James' cousin, had asked him for help with building a cabin in the interior - where very few people live and where living is difficult to say the least.

James had misgivings about taking his teenage daughter with him, but he was sure glad he did. Much to his surprise, Aidan thrives in the wilderness of Alaska. When she had the opportunity to return many months l
This book makes me want to lace up my shoes and head to Alaska right now, even as winter is starting to settle in at the northern reaches. James Campbell and his daughter Aidan travel to Alaska three times during this memoir, first to assist Campbell's cousin Heimo in building a new log cabin for him and his wife, secondly to experience a true Alaskan winter in the depths of the forest, and thirdly to canoe up the Hulahula River to the Arctic Ocean. Each trip north leaves Campbell, but especiall ...more
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I chose 'Braving it' because the concept of taking off into the Alaskan wildlife refuge really intrigued me. We are an avid outdoorsy family, and my husband would like nothing more than this very thing. Also with 2 teenage daughters I wonder if they could have tackled this very challenge. The thought scares me but at the same time I think, of the learning process one could get from this experience.

We watch shows like Alone, and there has to be said there is something to being out there away fro
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of the best Alaska adventure books I've ever read. (High praise from this Alaskan!) ...more
I enjoyed this story of a father and daughter and their three trips to Alaska, living in the wild. I liked seeing both Aidan and Jim grow during their experiences, as they survive extreme cold, hard work, bear encounters, rushing rapids, bad weather, and short tempers.

There are a couple of things that bothered me. The narrator's "girl voice" is kind of awful, so I found it super annoying anytime Aidan, Edna, or Elizabeth were speaking. He makes every one of them sound like whiny 10-year-olds. A
Pat Arnold
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read. I enjoyed the relationships throughout and the transformation of the daughter from start to finish. Exciting and adventurous through every page, I’m sad it ended!
Apr 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received a free copy of this book from Penguin First to Read, in exchange for an honest review.

James Campbell, father and perpetual sufferer of wanderlust, jumps at the chance to help his cousin Heimo Korth build a cabin in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He isn't so sure about inviting his fifteen-year-old daughter Aidan to come along, with all the dangers present, but he wants her to learn the wild beauty of the place, so he does--and despite his reservations, she blooms there. Tho
Erin Cataldi
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I fell harder for this book than I would have expected. I'm not much of an outdoorsy person, but the thrills that the father and daughter seek in Alaska and the ways that it binds them together and closer to nature, really spoke to me. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it makes me want to go seek adventure of my own. I want to cultivate my own "fernweh"(craving for travel) and create travel memories. Fifteen year old Aiden and her father James go on three separate trips to Alaska and in the pro ...more
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vine-amazon
I absolutely loved this book! I was planning to give it to my nephew or niece, but decided to keep my copy since I really enjoyed it. I will probably never get to explore Alaska ... not like the way Campbell and his daughter did, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Campbell has a way of describing his adventures that leave one feeling sentimental and in awe of the beautiful wilds, of the arctic tundra and the roaring rivers. I love how he described his relationship with his daughter; makes me no ...more
Dave Allen
Oct 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Having read a lot of coming to, visiting Alaska stories, I will have to say this one was just ok. Much of the story revolves around the author's relationship with his oldest daughter, in the first part of the book visiting their friend who lives the hard-core trappers life in "bush" Alaska. I really felt it dragging and almost gave up here, but felt things pick up in the second half of the book, which documents their return trip to AK and a float down the Hulahula River. I enjoyed that section m ...more
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: won
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. My opinion is just that...mine...and completely unbiased.

I love a really good memoir and this does not disappoint. Mr. Campbell and his 15 year old daughter, Aidan's, adventures in the Alaskan wilderness will bring out the wanderlust in all who read it. Well, maybe not, if you don't like extreme cold temperatures, wild animals, and lack of food and civilization emotionally and physically enlightening. This well-written tale has left me wanting to find out what
Tim Lepczyk
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Good book full of adventure and a parent aware of his own mortality and his teenage daughter's transition to adulthood. Inspiring.

My long review is here
Joseph Carano
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this memoir I won on Goodreads.It is the story of a man who gets to know his young daughter by taking her on trips to the Alaskan wilderness.His descriptions of the hardships of nature,the terrain, and the wildlife are priceless. A real page turner that I actually enjoyed reading.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book had immense appeal to me - a true tale of a father taking his 15-16 y.o daughter on several hard core adventures in the very remote wilds of Alaska. I loved the descriptions of the natural beauty and awe-inspiring nature; I admired the father's relationship with his daughter and what he was trying to accomplish on these adventures, and I empathized with the father's feelings of aging and watching your child age. It really spoke to me and reminded me of some of my harder core wilderness ...more
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading about father and daughter and their adventures in Canada. I did a lot of canoeing when I was younger, so with that history I truly enjoyed the time spent on the river in Alaska. The first two stories in the book where they are building a cabin and visiting the wilderness reminded me very much of story of Richard Louis Proenneke and his years in the Alaskan wilderness. An unbelievable adventure for a young girl and her father. Too bad all young people cannot experience such an u ...more
William Graney
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm always happy to read a good father/daughter story and in addition to the heart warming nature of this one, the adventures were epic. The author is a very talented writer and I was wishing this book could go on longer as I was thoroughly enjoying every page. As soon as I finished it, I immediately placed the book on the Adventure shelf in my Hall of Fame book case. The reading experience doesn't get much better than this. ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable outdoor/adventure read. I loved seeing Alaska through Campbell's eyes.

I did wonder, though, what Aidan's perspective would've been on all the assumed feelings her father assigned her. From time to time I had to remind myself of the difference between mansplaining and a father trying to raise an independent, strong, young woman.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is so beautifully written that I could imagine myself taking parts in their adventures. I’ve never been to Alaska, and heck, I’ve never gone camping into the wilderness. But I have a great love for nature, exploration and adventure, and this book has greatly inspired me to really think about having somewhat similar trips one day.
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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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