33 Alaska Books That are a Must Read!

New and Old, These are Alaska Books You Need!

For some, Alaska books are a way to step back in time and experience a bit of what the early Pioneers did. For others, taking a break from reality and connecting to another culture is what they're looking for.  Alaska books also offer a way to hear about the extreme peril that many Alaskans have found themselves in, which often celebrates human triumph over great adversity.  Whatever style of adventure you're looking for, these Alaska books are sure to please!  Get to reading!


One Mans Wilderness

alaska books As far as Alaska books go, this is often the first to roll off someones list when prompted with 'What do you recommend?' This best-selling memoir from Richard Proenneke's journals and with firsthand knowledge of his subject and the setting, Sam Keith has woven a tribute to a man who carved his masterpiece out of the beyond. To live in a pristine land unchanged by man . . . to roam a wilderness through which few other humans has passed . . . to choose an idyllic site, cut trees by hand, and build a log cabin. . . to be a self-sufficient craftsman, making what is needed from materials available...to be not at odds with the world, but content with one's own thoughts, dreams and company. Thousands have had such dreams, but Richard Proenneke lived them. This book is a moving account of the day-to-day explorations and activities Dick carried out alone....alone in the wilderness...and the constant chain of nature's events that kept him company.

Alaskas Wolf Man

alaska books Between 1915 and 1955 adventure-seeking Frank Glaser, a latter-day Far North Mountain Man, trekked across wilderness Alaska on foot, by wolf-dog team, and eventually, by airplane. In his career he was a market hunter, trapper, roadhouse owner, professional dog team musher, and federal predator agent. A naturalist at heart, he learned from personal observation the life secrets of moose, caribou, foxes, wolverines, mountain sheep, grizzly bears, and wolves—especially wolves.

Ada Blackjack

alaska books In 1921, four men and one woman ventured deep into the Arctic. Two years later, only one returned. When 23-year-old Inuit Ada Blackjack signed on as a seamstress for a top-secret Arctic expedition, her goal was simple: earn money and find a husband. But her terrifying experiences--both in the wild and back in civilization--comprise one of the most amazing untold adventures of the 20th century. Based on a wealth of unpublished materials, including Ada's never-before-seen diaries, bestselling author Jennifer Niven narrates this true story of an unheralded woman who became an unlikely hero.

Two Old Women

alaska books Based on an Athabascan Indian legend passed along for many generations from mothers to daughters of the upper Yukon River Valley in Alaska, this is the suspenseful, shocking, ultimately inspirational tale of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine. Though these women have been known to complain more than contribute, they now must either survive on their own or die trying. In simple but vivid detail, Velma Wallis depicts a landscape and way of life that are at once merciless and starkly beautiful. In her old women, she has created two heroines of steely determination whose story of betrayal, friendship, community, and forgiveness "speaks straight to the heart with clarity, sweetness, and wisdom" (Ursula K. Le Guin)

Beyond the Bear

alaska books A 25-year-old backcountry wanderer, a man happiest exploring wild places with his dog, Dan Bigley woke up one midsummer morning to a day full of promise. Before it was over, after a stellar day of salmon fishing along Alaska’s Kenai and Russian rivers, a grizzly came tearing around a corner in the trail. Dan barely had time for “bear charging” to register before it had him on the ground, altering his life forever.

Coming into the Country

alaska books     Coming into the Country is an unforgettable account of Alaska and Alaskans. It is a rich tapestry of vivid characters, observed landscapes, and descriptive narrative, in three principal segments that deal, respectively, with a total wilderness, with urban Alaska, and with life in the remoteness of the bush.

Where the Sea Breaks Its Back

alaska books Author Corey Ford writes the classic and moving story of naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller, who served on the 1741-42 Russian Alaska expedition with explorer Vitus Bering. Steller was one of Europe's foremost naturalists and the first to document the unique wildlife of the Alaskan coast. In the course of the voyage, Steller made his valuable discoveries and suffered, along with Bering and the crew of the ill-fated brig St. Peter, some of the most grueling experiences in the history of Arctic exploration.

North to Danger

alaska books North To Danger is an exciting account of hazardous enterprises and exploits based in Alaska and all the adventure this country has to offer-from Kodiak bears to killer whales-experienced by Virgil Burford as told to Walt Morey.

Shadows on the Koyukuk

alaska books In his dramatic autobiography, Alaskan elder Sidney Huntington, half-white, half-Athabascan, recounts his adventures, tragedies, and ultimate success.  This is one of the Alaska books that tells the harrowing adventures and tragedies of growing up in interior Alaska.

Two in the Far North

alaska books This enduring story of life, adventure, and love in Alaska was written by a woman who embraced the remote Alaskan wilderness and became one of its strongest advocates. In this moving testimonial to the preservation of the Arctic wilderness, Mardy Murie writes from her heart about growing up in Fairbanks, becoming the first woman graduate of the University of Alaska, and marrying noted biologist Olaus J. Murie

Call of the Wild

alaska books The Call of the Wild, considered by many London's greatest novel, is a gripping tale of a heroic dog that, thrust into the brutal life of the Alaska Gold Rush, ultimately faces a choice between living in man's world and returning to nature. Adventure and dog-story enthusiasts as well as students and devotees of American literature will find this classic work a thrilling, memorable reading experience.  Not just a classic for Alaska books, but literature in general!

Glacier Pilot

alaska books This is the story of Bob Reeve, Alaska's first, most daring and most accomplished bush pilot. In 1932 he arrived in Valdez with no money, no plane and ill health. He soon made a career of doing the kind of flying that no one else wanted to do and earned the description of the the greatest rough-terrain pilot of our continent. He developed a successful commercial airline operating in the worst weather in the world along the fog-shrouded Aleutian chain, perfected the art of landing on glaciers, and engineered special devices for his plane that enabled him to achieve unheard-of performance at high altitudes.

Tisha: Young Teacher in Alaska

alaska books Anne Hobbs was only nineteen in 1927 when she came to harsh and beautiful Alaska. Running a ramshackle schoolhouse would expose her to more than just the elements. After she allowed Native American children into her class and fell in love with a half-Inuit man, she would learn the meanings of prejudice and perseverance, irrational hatred and unconditional love. “People get as mean as the weather,” she discovered, but they were also capable of great good.

Alaska Sourdough by Richard Morenus

alaska books This Alaska adventure book is begins with 18 year old Slim Williams whose adventures span over 32 years in the the frozen wilderness. Slim is no legendary Paul Bunyan, but a real-life adventurer who will have you chuckling at some of his remembrances, and feel your spine tingle at others in this, his story, told by a fellow Northland adventurer and a writer of note, Richard Morenus. If you've ever wondered what it is like to face the icy breath of death alone in a frozen stillness so intense the cold-exploding trees pop like guns--or sharing your cabin with a hibernating bear--or see your dog team fight a whirlpool of snow--or crossbreed the dogs with wolves to get a superior team--you'll know what it's like as you read this book about Slim. A fascinating read!

On the Edge of Nowhere

alaska books His father is a white trapper, his mother an Athabascan Indian who walks a thousand miles in winter to reunite with her family. Thus, Jimmy Huntington learns early how to survive on the land. Huntington is only seven when his mother dies, and he must care for his younger siblings. A courageous and inspiring man, Huntington hunts wolves, fights bears, survives close calls too numerous to mention, and becomes a championship sled-dog racer. Put this on your 'Alaska books to read' list!

James Michners Alaskaalaska books

In this sweeping epic of the northernmost American frontier, James A. Michener guides us through Alaska’s fierce terrain and history, from the long-forgotten past to the bustling present. As his characters struggle for survival, Michener weaves together the exciting high points of Alaska’s story: its brutal origins; the American acquisition; the gold rush; the tremendous growth and exploitation of the salmon industry; the arduous construction of the Alcan Highway, undertaken to defend the territory during World War II. A spellbinding portrait of a human community fighting to establish its place in the world, Alaska traces a bold and majestic saga of the enduring spirit of a land and its people.

The Last Great Brown Bear Men

alaska books The rigors of nature, the excitement of the stalk, and the total thrill of the hunt are recorded in this book written by one who has experienced many hunts with Bill Pinnell and Morris Talifson. This is one of the Alaska books that is filled with not just tales of simply killing huge brown bear, but contain the very essence of outdoor life as Pinnell and Talifson have known it over half a century.

The Ravens Gift

alaska books John Morgan and his wife can barely contain their excitement upon arriving as the new teachers in a Yup’ik Eskimo village on the Alaskan tundra. Lured north in search of adventure, the couple hope to immerse themselves in the ancient Arctic culture. But their move proves disastrous when a deadly epidemic strikes and the isolated tundra community descends into total chaos. When outside help fails to arrive, John’s only hope lies in escaping. His thousand-mile trek across the Alaskan wilderness grows more improbable when he encounters a blind Eskimo girl and an elderly woman. The two need his protection from those who would harm them, and he needs their knowledge of the terrain and their companionship to survive. The harsh journey and constant danger push him beyond his limits as he discovers a new sense of hope and the possibility of loving again.

The Only Kayak

alaska books In this coming-of-middle-age memoir, Kim Heacox, writing in the tradition of Abbey, McPhee, and Thoreau, discovers an Alaska reborn from beneath a massive glacier, where flowers emerge from boulders, moose swim fjords, and bears cross crevasses with Homeric resolve. In such a place Heacox finds that people are reborn too, and their lives begin anew with incredible journeys, epiphanies, and successes. All in an America free of crass commercialism and overdevelopment.

Alone in My Kayak

alaska books From Alaska books Amazon reviewer Lyle Olsen: When a native teacher's aide handed me Alone in My Kayak one day after school, I accepted it gladly, expecting to learn more about native culture here in the Alaskan bush. What I didn't expect was account after account of North country miracles, genuine, unquestionable examples of God responding to the deep love and faith of one of His Children, a full-blood Eskimo named Patkotak. This book earned a place of honor on my bookshelf. Patkotak will remain an inspiration and I'll delight in sharing his stories of miracles in the Far North. A quick example: prayer opens a 70+ mile long lead (open water crack in pack ice) from where a hunting party was trapped by unusually early ice to their village and the lead is exactly wide enough for the umiak and remains open until they reach home!

Looking for Alaska

alaska books Looking for Alaska is Peter's account of eighteen months spent traveling over twenty thousand miles in tiny bush planes, on snow machines and snowshoes, in fishing boats and kayaks, on the Alaska Marine Highway and the Haul Road, searching for what defines Alaska. Hearing the amazing stories of many real Alaskans--from Barrow to Craig, Seward to Deering, and everywhere in between--Peter gets to know this place in the way that only he can. His resulting portrait is a rare and unforgettable depiction of a dangerous and beautiful land and all the people that call it home.

The Cruelest Miles

alaska books When a deadly diphtheria epidemic swept through Nome, Alaska, in 1925, the local doctor knew that without a fresh batch of antitoxin, his patients would die. The lifesaving serum was a thousand miles away, the port was icebound, and planes couldn't fly in blizzard conditions―only the dogs could make it. The heroic dash of dog teams across the Alaskan wilderness to Nome inspired the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and immortalized Balto, the lead dog of the last team whose bronze statue still stands in New York City's Central Park. This is the greatest dog story, never fully told until now.

The Cheechakoes

alaska books Picture this: World War II has just ended and Dad decides to move the family to the wilds of Alaska. Hmm. Could be fun; could be a nightmare. The author of this book, Wayne Short, discovered what challenge really means when his mom and dad moved Wayne and his two brothers to the wilderness of Surprise Harbor at the tip of Admiralty Island.

The Great Alone

alaska books Alaska, 1974. Untamed. Unpredictable. A story of a family in crisis struggling to survive at the edge of the world, it is also a story of young and enduring love. Cora Allbright and her husband Ernt, a recently-returned Vietnam veteran scarred by the war, uproot their thirteen year old daughter Leni to start a new life in Alaska. Utterly unprepared for the weather and the isolation, but welcomed by the close-knit community, they fight to build a home in this harsh, beautiful wilderness. At once an epic story of human survival and love, and an intimate portrait of a family tested beyond endurance, The Great Alone offers a glimpse into a vanishing way of life in America

Searching for Fannie Quigley

alaska books At the age of 27, Fannie Sedlacek left her Bohemian homestead in Nebraska to join the gold rush to the Klondike. From the Klondike to the Tanana, Fannie continued north, finally settling in Katishna near Mount McKinley. This woman, later known as Fannie Quigley, became a prospector who staked her own claims and a cook who ran a roadhouse. She hunted and trapped and thrived for nearly forty years in an environment that others found unbearable.

Two in a Red Canoe Megan Baldino

alaska books Follow a young couple as they spend the summer traveling the "mighty Yukon." Stories of adventure, romance, and history combine with breathtaking photos to give us a very personal view of one of the last and greatest wild, unspoiled rivers in North America.

If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name

alaska books Tiny Haines, Alaska, is ninety miles north of Juneau, accessible mainly by water or air--and only when the weather is good. There's no traffic light and no mail delivery; people can vanish without a trace and funerals are a community affair. Heather Lende posts both the obituaries and the social column for her local newspaper. If anyone knows the going-on in this close-knit town--from births to weddings to funerals--she does. We meet her husband, Chip, who owns the local lumber yard; their five children; and a colorful assortment of quirky friends and neighbors, including aging hippies, salty fishermen, native Tlingit Indians, and volunteer undertakers--as well as the moose, eagles, sea lions, and bears with whom they share this wild and perilous land. Heather Lende adds this to the list of Alaska books to read as she gives a take on her offbeat Alaskan hometown celebrating life in a dangerous and breathtakingly beautiful place.

Alaska Bear Tales

alaska books Alaska Bear Tales is a best-selling collection of edge-of-your-seat accounts of true-life encounters with bears in Alaska.  As far as Alaska books go, this one has the potential to make your hair stand on end!

Wager with the Wind

alaska books Don Sheldon has been called 'Alaska's bush pilot among bush pilots', but he was also just one man in a fragile airplane who, in the end, was solely responsible for each mission he flew, be it a high-risk landing, to the rescue of others from certain death in the mountains of Alaska or the routine delivery of supplies to a lonely homesteader. Read James Greiner's Wager with the Wind to learn how a hero was born, and also how he made his courageous journey to the unknown skies of dealing with cancer.  This is one of the Alaska books not to be ignored!

Minus 148

alaska books One of the timeless Alaska books, this classic tale documents the dramatic near-death experiences in the harshest of conditions during the first winter ascent of Mt. McKinley


alaska books Highliners are the elite of the fishing world, the skippers and crews who make the biggest catches—salmon, king crab, halibut, shrimp—and deliver them first to the bustling canneries of Kodiak and Dutch Harbor. For these men—and for their women—the safe eight-hour day does not exist. It never will. Some fishermen get rich, many die broke. But they find a special joy in their work that can never be matched by the easier world of the landsman. No matter how great the hardship or how bad the storm, the highliners put out to sea in their primitive battle against the elements.

Winds of Skilak

alaska books Winds of Skilak is one of the Alaska books that traces a young couple’s adventurous move from the suburbs of Ohio to a remote island on ill-tempered Skilak Lake. As Sam and Bonnie adapt to a life without running water, electricity and telephones, the unforgiving, desolate environment tests their courage early on. Facing sub-freezing temperatures, unfriendly bears, and cabin fever, the Wards find strength in new friends, each other, and the awe-inspiring beauty of “the last frontier.” Just when they finally settle in, a freak accident proves to be the ultimate test of their resolve. Will they be able to survive in this isolated wilderness filled with unseen dangers?

Walking My Dog Jane

alaska books Join Rozell, a science writer at the University of Alaska- Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and Jane, his chocolate Labrador, as they walk 800 miles across Alaska along the trans-Alaska pipeline, beginning at Valdez and ending up at Prudhoe on the Arctic Ocean. While not an exhaustive list of excellent Alaska books, this list will surely help you get lost in a new page-turner.  Get a few new Alaska books today!


I am looking for the title of a book I read back in the 80s while working in the Arctic; the first person account of a young man who heads to the Arctic coast near demarcation bay to pan for gold. He and an older partner go by dogsled from Nome. Toward the end of the first summer the two have a falling out. As a result, the young man, not knowing exactly where he is, decides to head back to his home in Nome with one of the sleds. Because he has no way to navigate, he decides to follow the coast, from the Canadian border, around point barrow, and south to Nome, in winter, alone. Along the way he nearly starves and at one point he winds up spending Christmas in Barrow with Charlie Brower. It’s an amazing story of luck and determination. I had borrowed the book from a UAF grad student, and gave it back. I’d love to get the title and read that again. Any help greatly appreciated.

Jeff Doughty April 17, 2021

I have been reading many books about Wolves in Yellowstone National Park and people who have made a life for themselves in Alaska living off grid. Please if anyone wants to learn about living life off the grid in Alaska you have to read Dolly Faulkners three books (1) 40 Years in the Wilderness (2) My Wilderness My Home (3) Still Kickn in the Wilderness
She gives her contact information at the end of the book and she will return any letters you may write.

Jim Broadbent April 17, 2021

I published my memoir, “True North, Hunting Fossils Under the Midnight Sun” (2017), to document my unusual and adventure-filled life as a paleontologist who spent thirty-four summers in the Alaska bush. Prior to that, I had spent most of two years working on oil platforms in Cook Inlet to pay for my PhD in geology. In my experience, I have a unique and unusual take on Alaska that I have not read anywhere else and that I believe your readers would appreciate.

My book won a Bronze Medal in the Adventure category in a national competition put on by Foreword Reviews, the principal venue for reviews of independently published books. In addition, it was a finalist (one of six) in the National Indie Excellence Awards for 2017, (Memoir category), and was very favorably reviewed for the 2017 Booklife Prize (Memoir/Autobiography category). My book also went on to become an Amazon #1 Best Seller in the Polar Travel category. I have no doubt that your readership would enjoy my tales of accomplishment and adventure in The Last Frontier.

In my chosen field of paleontology I studied fossil mollusks of the past sixty-five million years, conducting field investigations in Southeastern Alaska, on the Alaska Peninsula and on the North Slope. I worked and published at the national and international level and my most prominent discovery was solving the age-old mystery of Bering’s Strait’s age. In addition, my field party in 1984 unearthed the North Slope dinosaurs that have since become so famous. Much of my work focused on deciphering past climates of the Arctic, based on fieldwork in Alaska, Siberia and northernmost Canada.

Even after my career was largely over, in 2017 I realized that a river in one of my former field areas on the Alaska Peninsula had never been named. I went through the official federal and State of Alaska procedures and named the Spirit River, which is in the vicinity of Port Moller on the Bering Sea coast. In some ways it felt like a capstone to my long and fortuitous career in Alaska.

I am pleased to say that my memoir has garnered a number of favorable reviews on Amazon.com and Goodreads.com. I hope that you will consider adding my memoir to your already stellar list of Must-Read Alaska books.

Lou Marincovich April 17, 2021

Would love to find a novel I read when I lived in Fairbanks, was only a novel but it was about Fairbanks during and maybe after the “Pipeline era,” Don’t even remember name of novel, but it was kind of a mystery.
One of my favorite non-fictions was “Going to Extremes”

Dean April 17, 2021

Another great book is 50 YEARS BELOW ZERO, Charles Browers story.

Ron Terry April 17, 2021

For anyone interested in the military’s critical historic role in Alaska and Far North diplomacy, I recommend my three vol narrative, ‘A History of Alaska: [Aurora’s Sentinel] Academica (2018).

Jonathan M Nielson April 17, 2021

Just change Kristin’s last name from Hall to Hannah. Dailey’s book came out in 1986 and is a fantastic epic of Alaska’s history.

Kay Packard April 17, 2021

I am looking for a book I read 20-30 years ago. I thought the title was Alaska Adventure. It would have been written before 1970. It was about surveying the Canada-Alaska lower peninsula border based on the British-Russian agreement. I think the Surveyor/Author was from Seattle. Bear encounters, and a brief story about how the Dall sheep was named, and much more… Does anyone know of such a book? please email me. Rod revogel@gmail.com

Rod April 17, 2021

You missed " The Great Alone" by Janet Dailey! You have another novel by the same name by Kristin Hall, Dailey’s book is an epic of the Tlingits and the Alaska settlers – both Russian and American. – and I fell in love with it as I prepare for my own trip to Alaska . Please add it to the top of your list! Thanks – Kay

Kay Packard April 17, 2021

I’m searching for an old book titled Caught in the Wild. It is set in Alaska, about gold mines, survival, and a love story. I don’t know the author or publisher and the tattered copy I have is missing the last chapter or two. Can you help me locate this most likely out of print book?

Ilene April 17, 2021

Hi Ilene, I did a search for the title and its available on Amazon from a third party seller for not a lot of money. I hope that helps


Kyle April 17, 2021

Hi Alaskana Raven Books! I’ve made a downloadable list here at this link: http://bit.ly/2O85QPI

Kyle April 17, 2021

Hi Cheryl! I’ve made a downloadable list here at this link: http://bit.ly/2O85QPI

Kyle April 17, 2021

I’ve created a downloadable file for you here:


Kyle April 17, 2021

I spent five years in a village outside Bethel and was REALLY impressed with how well author K.A. Tucker nailed modern time rural Alaska in her romantic novel The Simple Wild. I felt like I was right back in the village.
I agree totally with The Great Alone- also a book that really makes it feel like you are there; and would add The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.

Shelly Cunningham April 17, 2021

How can we print out just The Titles? Thanks for great list!

Sandra April 17, 2021

Are these books on a list that can be printed out?
Did I miss it?
Would like to print out your list of books suggested.

alaskana raven books April 17, 2021

You left out one of the earliest and famous Alaskan writer……Rex Beach

Anthony B Howard April 17, 2021

Please check your title.
Are you talking about the book by G. O. Young?
No offense meant by my question and statement.

alaskana raven books April 17, 2021

I think you should include Ordinary Wolves and Shopping For Porcupine by Seth Kantner. Also loved The Wisdom Keeper by Ilarion Merculieff.

Lyd April 17, 2021

Two Crows Came, The Snow Child, Julie of the Wolves, The Year of Miss Agnes—great books, all!

Renee Estelle April 17, 2021

For a bit of great humor: “ Fashion Means Your Fur Hat is Dead” by Mike Doogan

Lynn Ward April 17, 2021

I loved your Grandfathers book when they first came out many years ago, we had a house fire and I lost over 2000 books I had collected over the years, your Grandfathers books were among them, I have been meaning to get the whole set again, but just have not done it yet. Is your Grandfather still around? If he is let him know I became a better cook because of him, and laughed at all his tales about being a Law Man in Alaska.

Lenny Novak April 17, 2021

OMG, You missed some of the best! Songs of the Soudough: poems of Robert W. Service: Touching the Clouds, by Bonnie Leon: Treasures of the North, by Tracie Peterson: The Moose Jaw Book I, II, III, by Mike Delany: White Fang, by Jack London: The Sea-Wolf, by Jack London: (And the granddaddy of them all) Tales of the North by Jack London

Edward Ryan April 17, 2021

Champion of Alaskan Huskies: Joe Redington Sr. Father of the Iditarod. Is about the beginning of the Iditarod.

Megan April 17, 2021

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