University of Nebraska Press
Date of this Version
A lifelong Alaskan, Steve Kahn moved at the age of nine from the “metropolis” of Anchorage to the foothills of the Chugach Mountains. A childhood of berry picking, fishing, and hunting led to a life as a big-game guide. When he wasn’t guiding in the spring and fall, he worked as a commercial fisherman and earned his pilot’s license, pursuits that took him to the far reaches of the Alaskan wilderness. He lived through some of the most important moments of the state’s history: the 1964 earthquake (the most powerful in U.S. history), the Farewell Burn wildfire, the last king crab season in Kodiak Island waters, the Exxon Valdez oil spill and cleanup, even the far-reaching effects of the 9/11 attacks. The landscape of the essays in The Hard Way Home extends from the tip of Admiralty Island in the southeast to the Teocalli Mountains of the interior, from the windswept Alaska Peninsula to the author’s present home on Lake Clark. These essays offer a view of Alaska that is at once introspective and adventurous. Here we find the state’s plants, animals, people, geography, politics, and culture considered from an intimate perspective, leading to hard-earned lessons about conservation, sustainability, and living well. Ever the irrepressible guide, Kahn invites readers to share his experiences and discoveries and to consider questions about a place, and a life, that are disappearing.
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