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Originally posted by tracer7
is there any land left to do this? seems like everywhere is either a park, or private property. I would love the chance to do this but again, I see no escape from the system when you have to buy the land just to do this.
Some of those journals, edited by Sam Keith and published in 1973, became One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey, a fascinating insight into Proenneke’s wilderness education, in the self-tutelage of the rhythms and language of nature, including the big bear that charged the door of his cabin and seemed oblivious to the gunshots fired in the ground to scare it off.
This book is written "by Sam Keith from the journals and photographs of Richard Proenneke" - so although I read it and visualized the events within as if it had all been written by Richard Proenneke, it wasn't. Sam Keith tells us in the preface: "Using Dick Proenneke's rough journals as a guide, and knowing him as well as I did, I have tried to get into his mind and reveal the "flavor" of the man. This is my tribute to him, a celebration of his being in tune with his surroundings and what he did alone with simple tools and ingenuity in carving his masterpiece out of the beyond." I've seen the PBS presentation of "Alone in the Wilderness", which uses selections from the text of this book along with movie footage of Proenneke building his cabin and living there. Those selections are read by someone other than Proenneke, but the voice is a perfect fit to the text and image. Because the text is not exactly Proenneke's and the voice of the video isn't his either, our experience of the man is filtered though these interpreations. Sam Keith hasn't shown us any unedited examples from the "rough journals" he used to compose the book, so it's difficult to know how far this beautifully crafted language matches the character and psychology of Richard Proenneke.
This book, unlike One Man's Wilderness by Sam Keith, gives us Dick's own words. The editor, a friend of Proenneke's, honored his request that, if this part of his journal were ever published, his words and phrasing not be changed in any way. So what you get here is Dick's own phrasing and manner of speech - which is folksy and direct. Proenneke was disappointed that Sam Keith heavily edited his prose in One Man's Wilderness (which is obvious if you read both books) and he refused to have any more of his journals published without a promise that no editing would occur. If you are a fan of Dick Proenneke, this is the best and most authentic look at his life. It contains an introduction with a brief biography which, although short, is the only such work that we have.