‘Final Frontiersman’offers an adventurous read | SummitDaily.com

‘Final Frontiersman’offers an adventurous read

Special to the DailyAuthor James Campbell will sign "The Final Frontiersman" at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Borders Books in Dillon.

Many families have one person who’s just a little bit out there, but in James Campbell’s case, his cousin is very far out there – so far, in fact, he has lived in the Alaskan bush since 1975, more than 100 miles from the nearest neighbor.Campbell spent two years documenting the life of Heimo Korth and his family in the final frontier. He emerged from the frozen land with the nonfiction book, “The Final Frontiersman,” a tale as wild and rich as the Alaskan wilderness.Korth grew up in Appleton, Wis., and escaped his abusive father to live the life of a mountain man. At first, he nearly starved to death, but eventually, he learned to trap – and even kill whales – which now allows him to live almost entirely off the land.

He and his wife home school their two teenage daughters, who are as comfortable snaring a wolverine as they are listening to Britney Spears.Campbell masterfully weaves details of the Korth’s life as semi-nomadic hunters, trappers and gatherers with the major issues that have shaped Alaska – from oil and native claims to rampant drinking and prostitution in towns and the closing of the frontier.Korth transformed from a man spending his nights in Wisconsin bars to an upstanding family man humbled by his wilderness experiences.

Though Korth initially refused Campbell’s request to study his lifestyle and write a book about it, as soon as the two-seater Cessna drops Campbell off at Korth’s cabin, the family welcomed him warmly. Rather than an antisocial Neanderthal, Korth reveals himself to be an open, friendly man living his naturalistic dream.As Korth’s story unfolds, he witnesses the most unbearable of tragedies, which has bounded his family to the land for a lifetime.Readers wouldn’t guess this is Campbell’s first book. The journalist has written for National Geographic Adventure, Outside and Men’s Journal.

His language and storytelling captivate the imagination and make the book an absorbing page-turner.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.

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