Arctic Homestead: The True Story of One Family's Survival and Courage in the Alaskan Wilds Info

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In 1973, Norma Cobb, her husband Lester, and the their five
children, the oldest of whom was nine-years-old and the youngest, twins,
barely one, pulled up stakes in the Lower Forty-eight and headed north
to Alaska to follow a pioneer dream of claiming land under the Homestead
Act. The only land available lay north of Fairbanks near the Arctic
Circle where grizzlies outnumbered humans twenty to one. In addition to
fierce winters and predatory animals, the Alaskan frontier drew the more
unsavory elements of society's fringes. From the beginning, the Cobbs
found themselves pitted in a life or death feud with unscrupulous
neighbors who would rob from new settlers, attempt to burn them out,
shoot them, and jump their claim.

The Cobbs were chechakos,
tenderfeet, in a lost land that consumed even toughened settlers.
Everything, including their "civilized" past, conspired to defeat them.
They constructed a cabin and the first snow collapsed the roof. They
built too close to the creek and spring breakup threatened to flood them
out. Bears prowled the nearby woods, stalking the children, and Lester
Cobb would leave for months at a time in search of work.

But
through it all, they survived on the strength of Norma Cobb---a woman
whose love for her family knew no bounds and whose courage in the face
of mortal danger is an inspiration to us all. Arctic Homestead is
her story.


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Reviews for Arctic Homestead: The True Story of One Family's Survival and Courage in the Alaskan Wilds:

3

January 13, 2002

Arctic Homestead: Do not believe every thing you read!
Arctic Homestead is a simply written collection of short stories that chronicles the struggles of the Cobb family as they "prove up" their homestead. It is very light reading and should not take more than an afternoon to read through. While it will not go down as a great book, it does provide some entertaining reading. There are certainly better and more accurate books written about homesteading in the bush of Alaska, but this book does give the reader a sense of what interior Alaska was like in the mid to late 70's. Just take some of what you read with a healthy "grain of salt." This book is of particular interest to me because I lived with the Cobbs on their Lost Creek Ranch Homestead from June of 1978 to January of 1979. My name is Ken Nelson and my time with the Cobbs is erroneously summarized in Chapter 67. Norma mistakenly identifies this time as 1981.
Norma Cobb, as comes through clearly in the book, tends to be quite a paranoid individual. She always fears the worst is going to happen in any situation and almost instinctively distrusts anyone outside of her family. You will notice as you read the book that she also tends to manipulate facts in her stories to place her family in the best possible light.
Les is a driven man and is willing to bend the law and truth to fit his particular needs. While I always liked Les in spite of himself and generally admired Norma for her grit and determination to keep her family together in the wilderness, I was never fully able to accept that their way of getting ahead was right. Too many relationships were destroyed because of her paranoia and their willingness to destroy anyone and anything that might possibly threaten their way of life. My relationship with them was also mostly destroyed through this paranoia even though I wasn't driven off under gun point or blasted out with dynamite. Read the book for stories of people who were.
Les and Norma had promised me the Oh Brother cabin and 5 acres of land with it if I would stay and help educate their children over the winter of 1978 and help Les with the work on the homestead. This I fully intended to do until circumstances made me decide it would be best for me to leave in January of 1979. Les had once again left the homestead looking for work. Norma had basically thrown him out and was threatening to divorce him. There is much more to this story than I care to disclose here to protect all of the parties involved in the situation. Never the less, shortly before I decided it was best that I leave, Norma had made the twins, Cora and Cara, move in with me in the Oh Brother cabin since they were Les's kids and not hers. I was only 21 at the time and did not feel fully prepared to take care of 5 year old twin girls in spite of the fact that they were very sweet and cooperative. Also, I had recently become engaged during the visit of my California girl friend, Donell, and was anxious to get back nearer to her.
In the book, Norma comes across as a devoted and almost worshipful wife. While this was true much of the time, Les and Norma were not immune to the factors that strain marriages of blended families. Also, living as they were, there were even more stresses than usual to threaten their marriage. Les was often gone months at a time. I give Norma credit for sticking with Les even when she had legitimate reasons for breaking up their marriage. Les also had the presence of mind to keep things patched up between him and Norma because he knew that he would fail if she were to leave him. All of these problems were mostly ignored in the telling of this story even though you get hints of it every now and then.
The biggest shock for me came when I read that I was credited with letting most of their dogs die while the Cobbs were gone. I had stayed alone on the homestead while they were gone in order to take care of their dogs. One dog, Arrow, had suddenly and unexpectedly refused to go any farther while in harness on a return trip from Rampart. I had taken him out of harness because the other dogs were just dragging him along. I expected him to follow us home but I never saw him again. He later turned up dead under a cabin in Rampart.
This was very upsetting to me as Arrow was a very friendly dog that I had come to love. Dogs in the bush had no veterinary care and almost no vaccines. It was easy for canine diseases to pass from one team to another. Native dogs teams had spent the night with me on the homestead and I had staked out my dogs with teams in Rampart. Arrow must have contracted a deadly disease, but I'll never know for sure.
All of the other dogs along with around 15 new pups that came while they were gone were still alive when I left. Arrow's death coupled with the necessity to clean up a large amount of dog feces that had been buried in the deep winter snow the next spring made her concoct a story that I must have neglected the dogs. While I freely admit that there were days when I did not get every "pile" chiseled cleanly out of the snow and days when heavy snowfall prevented me from shoveling at all, the dogs were fed and watered regularly and were in good condition upon their return. After their first winter in the bush Norma describes a day of cleaning up after the dogs during breakup that sounds very similar to what it must have been like in the spring of 1979.
Also contrary to Norma's description in Chapter 67, Sid and I parted on very good terms. In fact, the night before I left, Sid came down to my cabin and begged me to stay. Both of us were in tears before that night was over. Sid certainly was forced to grow up before his time but he was up to the task. His dog team was never close to Iditarod caliber, but he was good with the dogs. It was Les that did not have the temperament for dog training and the family sled dogs all died from lead poisoning from Les's 44 some time after I left. This I learned from Les himself when I visited the homestead in April of 1979 and found all my dogs and most of their dogs missing.
1

April 8, 2004

God's Chosen People
If you've never lived where the weather can kill you, you might be inclined to believe everything Norma Cobb writes. If you've never encountered a Black bear outside of a zoo, you might think Norma has it right. If you've never set out on your own without a net, you might think God was Norma's personal servant.
I usually enjoy books of adventure, particularly set in the North, and books of personal hardship overcome. This book, however, annoyed and insulted me. Does this author really believe she and her family are unusual? Pioneering is not about moving to Alaska and kind of living off the land; it is about meeting great obstacles and finding the resources to overcome them. Her world view is based on superstition, ignorance, and paranoia. When others start to follow their lead in mining gold in their precious valley, she starts to whine like those she says she despises. To use one of her pet phrases, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander."
Read the reviews carefully. You will find one from someone who is actually mentioned in the book and was a witness to the reality of the Cobb's lifestyle. I didn't read them before I bought and read the book. I wish I had.
2

April 7, 2005

Skip This One
A bias tale about a couples disregard and destruction of a valley in Northern Alaska.

You will learn how to set traps everywhere, including snares to catch bear then neglect them for months so the animals are left to suffer a slow death.

You will learn how to indiscriminately kill every thing that moves or could be a threat. If that doesn't wipe out all the wildlife, you will also learn how to bring in paying hunters to kill what little is left. When you finally succeed in wiping out all the moose, bear, etc. in the valley... then you will learn how to blame it on the wolfs and petition the government to let you wipe them out too.

Next you will learn how to start a gold mining operation with three D-9 cats operating 24/7 and use hydraulic methods to wash all the silt into your lake so you can kill all the fish too. When your neighbors come in with their D-9's to mine along side, you again will petition the government to prevent them using the argument they are "driving across your property" - but once they agree to build you a road then viola it's okay.

Want to try your hand at whipping dogs to see if you can better your time when every you go sledding to town? Then you don't want to miss the chapter about the Cobbs interest in dog teams. At one point, their front yard contained 200 dogs living in turned over 50 gallon metal drums snow deep in sub-zero weather.

I can't imagine what is left of the beautiful pristine valley the Cobbs invaded and violated. All through the book Norma Cobb talks about her very personal relationship with God. Unfortunately her God is only self-serving to her and neither she or her husband Les has any regard for the environment, other people or wildlife!

This is really a very sad tale about how inhumane man can be to the environment when guided by a sense of self-entitlement and greed.
1

April 11, 2002

Driftwood Valley is better.
There is no joy in this book. Not a redeeming sentence. I lived in Fairbanks for two years and I am glad I never met this family. They critize others for doing the same thing they did to their land i.e. "rape it". There are a lot better books than this about living in the North. Driftwood Valley is one of the best.
1

March 14, 2004

Tried hard to like this book...
I really tried to get through this, but the pontificating, pious tone was just too much! If you want to read something about living WITH your environment, rather than trashing it as seemed to be the dominant theme in this, try any by Nick Jans,or Richard Nelson.
1

June 9, 2012

Unbelievable rubbish.
Perhaps the ghost writer thought the diary needed a Hollywood makeover to make the book marketable, I don't know, but you'd have to be very naive to get to the end of this book without realizing you've been suckered. It's an enjoyable and believable read until the family finally gets to Alaska. Then, right off, one of the kids is accidentally gut shot by a .357 handgun, but there happens to be a bush pilot in the little village and the kid is flown to help and survives. A kid surviving being shot by a .357 is highly unlikely, but I allowed that maybe this could be, so I kept reading. When the Cobbs claim to have dynamited the cabin of a neighbor who had been stealing from them, I had to consider how likely is it that anyone is going risk being prosecuted by admitting the illegal use of dynamite to destroy someones property? Could they really be stupid enough to believe they had the right to take the law into their own hands by blasting someones cabin? And would they then be stupid enough to admit to it in a book? BATF, hello!! But it was the end of the book where they claim to have happened to find a gold show... not just anywhere mind you... but right on their homestead, and this gold show made them fantastically wealthy! This book really ought to be entered into a Liars Contest, that's where it belongs.
2

August 2, 2007

I was very disappointed in this book
I was very disappointed in this book. While the first half is entertaining and interesting, it eventually became offensive to me for a number of reasons. The author, Norma Cobb, refers to herself (in the section about working on the pipeline) as "not unattractive" but then later goes on to categorize Susan Butcher as being not much to look at. Well, from looking at the pictures, I might agree with Norma's appraisal of herself, (though it does sound boastful for someone living in Athapaskan country, where the Natives do not boast about themselves), but to denigrate Susan's looks is simply tacky. Many believe that Susan Butcher was a very attractive, natural and wholesome looking woman. Further, when Norma comments on the passes made towards her by another musher, Rick Swenson, well - that is equally tacky, particularly with a well known individual. Unfortunately, these things, along with other things such as poor grammar and incorrect usage of the English language point to someone who appears to be both rather full of herself and disdainful of people with more education. It is a shame that what was essentially a good story had these elements that detracted from it. I was also bothered by the characterization of others in this book as they did not, somehow, "ring true." This assessment was solidified for me when I read Ken Nelson's review of the book. I normally do not cull books from my personal library but this book won't be kept.
1

August 4, 2012

"he is worthless as usual" Norma Cobbs writes about her son
I did not enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. I found Norma Cobbs to be critical of those who have not lived this type of lifesyle or owned a certain type of dog or of those who are well educated. While being so judgemental of others she finds a way to twist and defend her husband for breaking the law. For someone who does all the right things in life she had no problem spending dirty money that her husband made illegally.

One of her statements shocked me, while discribing her son, she wrote "he is worthless as usuual". Shocking! This was not a heartwarming story. I found it to be written by a selfish woman who dragged five very young children around to persue her dream and did nothing other than complain while telling her miserable story.
1

Mar 18, 2012

Posted this review on my blog, but had to toss it up here as well, because I am baffled at the good reviews this beast received. From the blog...

"Arctic Homestead" is technically written by Norma Cobb (the homesteader) and Charles Sasser (co-writer). From what I can gather, Cobb didn't actually write the book (although she claims to have done so on her blog). Sasser used her journals and interviews with Cobb to write the novel. Cobb has a blog where she does some complaining about things she Posted this review on my blog, but had to toss it up here as well, because I am baffled at the good reviews this beast received. From the blog...

"Arctic Homestead" is technically written by Norma Cobb (the homesteader) and Charles Sasser (co-writer). From what I can gather, Cobb didn't actually write the book (although she claims to have done so on her blog). Sasser used her journals and interviews with Cobb to write the novel. Cobb has a blog where she does some complaining about things she would have done differently had her publishers allowed her. However, she doesn't ever say "This book makes me out to be a cripplingly insecure, paranoid, mind-bogglingly hypocritical, misogynist moron who has a distinctly difficult time telling the truth." Because, well, it does. Were I Norma Cobb, there is no way in hell I would have allowed my name to be attached to this book, which leads me to believe that she either a) desperately needed the money or b) is really as awful as she is portrayed in the book. Unfortunately, after a bit of poking around on the 'net, I suspect it is the latter.

If you're looking for a "how-to" on homesteading, "Arctic Homestead" ain't it. It's written as more of an adventure tale, highlighting how the Cobb clan came to Alaska and managed to build a homestead near the Arctic circle. Norma Cobb is technically the last woman to have staked a claim via the Homestead Act, although her claim was backdated due to her husband's poor choice of land initially, so we never know who the real "last woman pioneer" might genuinely be.

Her husband's poor choices are a theme throughout the book, although Cobb and Sasser do quite an interesting mix of passive-aggressive insulting and hero worshiping of Lester Cobb, Norma's husband. The authors never state the obvious--Lester was a child (21 years-old) when he came to the bush and his decisions reflect that of a grossly immature, ill-informed adult infant with an extra helping of bravado. It's amazing the dude didn't kill his family or himself. (What the book doesn't mention: They eventually divorced, Lester is now deceased and Norma lives in AZ.)

The adventure tale goes a bit like this: Lots of near-death misses with guns and snow and bears, heaps of struggle (Cobb rails against "sissies" in the lower 48 taking handouts and being victims, fully ignoring the hypocrisy of her constant sense of victimization by others. Apparently, Alaska is filled with brutish douchebags who will take advantage of you at every turn), mostly due to poor planning and bad choices. Of course, she never attributes it to their idiocy. It's always someone else's fault or the harshness of the conditions. There's quite a bit of environmental harm thrown in, but Cobb doesn't actually acknowledge the harm they cause, though she rails against others who *commit the exact same acts.* Seriously, people. The irony is overwhelming.

There are several tales of bears nearly killing folks, always shot down so close that their claws hit her husband's boots as the creature falls. Once, sure. But over and over again? Really? It reads like it was written in hopes that someone would option it for a film.

Cobb is alarmingly insecure. She (or Sasser) refers to most other women she encounters as unattractive and is disparaging of anyone who has more education than her high school educated self. Her digs at other women are...well, creepy and absolutely unnecessary. Her parenting is a little disturbing as well, despite the fact that she sings her own praises. She passive-aggressively insults her husband's children frequently (the Cobbs were a blended family. Her husband with two daughters and she with three sons). She finds no qualm with complaining about mothers who work away from home yet ignores the fact that when she was away from the family working, her husband couldn't "baby-sit" (um, it's called *parenting*) and left the children with friends. Just one of many instances of hypocrisy-r-us.

After reading one too many near-death misses and yet another tale of some jackass screwing them over, I decided to do a bit of poking around on the 'net. One story particularly disturbed me. She tells of a hired hand who wintered over when the Cobbs had to leave the homestead. She barely mentions him, yet tells a horrid, yet brief, tale in which he is incapable of handling the dark, long winter and goes mad. In his delirium, all of the Cobb's sledding dogs die from neglect. It's an awful story. The problem? It's a lie. The real story? Lester Cobb made one of his daughters bring him the dogs one by one and he shot them. Dunno why that happened, but apparently Norma felt the need to tell the tale of the dogs' deaths without tarnishing the hero worship/passive-aggressive insults around her husband. Most disturbingly, she uses the young man's real name (asking for a lawsuit?) and neglects to tell us that she asked him to take her two daughters for an extended period of time, because they were annoying her and, after all, they were really her husband's children.

Essentially, Norma Cobb presents herself (or is presented by Sasser) as a stereotype, which might explain why she only presents others in the story as stereotypes. She's Christian (lots of God talk), but absolutely intolerant of those who are different. Rural roots, uneducated and utterly unintelligent (dammit, people, plenty of rural, uneducated folks are BRILLIANT), petty and catty towards other women, a lying hypocrite (why, why, why must my religious brethren always fall into that stereotype?), on and on.

Seriously? I hated this book. Absolutely hated it. I could rant for hours, but you've suffered enough. ...more
2

April 9, 2016

Not worth it
I had to stop reading after another of this woman's countless rants against pointy headed liberal college educated slash environmentalist slash government interfering slash sissy types. Only mildly informative about living self sufficiently, it only serves to trash a number of people who can't respond and defend themselves and to build up her and her family's image. I suspect there are too many holes to the stories of her relationship to other people mentioned in the book and I really got tired of reading it about half way through. It has been removed from my Kindle.
2

May 31, 2013

Complaining About Everything
I purchased this book and was hoping for more detail about living in Alaska in the wild. What the book is actually about is nothing but non stop complaining about the people, neighbors, friends, and family who did them wrong. There was really no mention on HOW they built their homestead, how they survived, or what they planted. This book was a huge disappointment!
3

March 26, 2013

Arctic traveler
I passed through the Cobb homestead during the winter of 1981. I was pulling a sled loaded with food and shelter. I stopped at the homestead and Norma fed me dinner and breakfast. I was most impressed with the children; they were such neat kids.

I find the book has embellished the interaction with wolves, brown bears and the hairy man. I have traveled thousands of miles in the Alaskan and Canadian arctic. I have never seen the track of the hairy man and I have encountered hundreds of wolves, polar bears and brown bears. I never carried a weapon on my sled and never found the need for protection. - Dick Griffith
2

February 2, 2018

Started out so great but disappointed by the end
Pros: Quick and easy read with some great adventure stories included. I ripped right through the first half of book.

Cons: By the second half of the book it just devolves into Norma Cobb complaining or putting down anyone and everyone. Her negative opinions of just about everything really started to wear on me. Eventually each chapter devolves into a story about why Norma was right and everyone else is wrong. I think we all know someone that is constantly blaming others for their shortcomings while ignoring their own faults and just like those people this books really starts to wear on you.

There are so many great books in this genre but this isn’t one of them.
1

October 18, 2014

I tried to like this book but the authors sanctimonious self congratulation
I tried to like this book but the authors sanctimonious self congratulation, coupled with her unflattering comments about others turned me completely off. I also found much of what was described to be implausible.
1

May 7, 2014

Get Over Yourself
It was interesting to read about how they survived in Alaska and their day to day life. However, the sanctimonious tone of the author increased as the book went on until I barely finished it.
5

October 15, 2012

Amazing story
I am fascinated with stories of Alaska and this one did not disappoint me. Since the story was taken from Norma Cobb's journals, I choose to believe most everything happened as written. This plucky family kept following their dream even when it was delayed several years by unusual circumstances. Working on the pipeline, working in the mess halls, being moved from one place to another, encountering drunken fellow travelers and defending Les with an ax, a child being accidentally shot, encountering the hairy, stinky, huge Bushman, bears and wolves. I would rather read this in a book as to ever encounter any of it. I have tried to find out the 'rest of the story' on the web, and all I could find is a one page web page on their Lost Creek Ranch hunting/fishing business that they may have already sold. I loved the story and would highly recommend it.
2

December 20, 2013

Jus' me n God
This is an interesting book at times. And then there are other times. Like when the writer goes off on a diatribe about lazy liberals and godless heathens. She is one of those irritating people you don't dare confuse with the facts. There is a heap of slap-doodle prattle about God and his designs for the Cobb family, but no hesitation at all when it comes to threatening someone with a gun, blowing up his cabin and clawing out a mining operation to the detriment of both the land and everyone else's claim. She's an arrogant woman who lacks both a sense of humor and any tolerance whatsoever for anyone who is the slightest bit different from herself.
4

Sep 08, 2015

Started this to “get the facts” about homesteading in Alaska, not expecting to be drawn in. But Norma Cobb’s voice, which her co-author was smart enough to amplify, did just that. She was the last person to file under the Homestead Act, before availability ended in 1974. She was twenty nine, divorced, with three sons, and going nowhere in Wichita when she married Lester Cobb, seven years younger, divorced, and with twin daughters, headed to the same destination. The idea to homestead, originally Started this to “get the facts” about homesteading in Alaska, not expecting to be drawn in. But Norma Cobb’s voice, which her co-author was smart enough to amplify, did just that. She was the last person to file under the Homestead Act, before availability ended in 1974. She was twenty nine, divorced, with three sons, and going nowhere in Wichita when she married Lester Cobb, seven years younger, divorced, and with twin daughters, headed to the same destination. The idea to homestead, originally in Canada, was hers. But it’s safe to say, Lester became the driving force.

They were not exactly...prepared. For instance, not until they were in northern British Columbia did they discover that homesteading in Canada was closed to non-citizens. Then they lost most of their tools, guns, and valuables to theft. Short of money, with unreliable vehicles, they selected their initial Alaska homestead sight unseen. They found it completely unlivable. Nevertheless, the seven, plus two dogs, six rabbits, and a cat pushed on to the Minook Valley nineteen miles south of the Yukon in central Alaska.

Just to put the effort in perspective, imagine driving into the bush as far as possible, then hiking eleven miles farther over a mountain pass again and again, hauling everything you will have, just to get to where you can camp out to set up your place to live. Finding their new home, building their cabin, and staying put required, among many other challenges, overcoming a co-traveler turned drunk and hostile, near fatal gunshot wound to one of their children, bear invasions, warning away by the Bushman (Sasquatch), and collapse of their first cabin’s roof under the weight of snow. This is one of grittiest, most charming, and touching stories that you will ever find. ...more
5

February 25, 2017

Such An Amazing Book!
This was such an enjoyable read. The writing flows easily and the adventures of the Cobb family just pulled me in. My only disappointment was there weren't another 30 chapters and I haven't found a second book.
Lee and Norma Cobb and their "Kernels" truly lived a pioneer lifestyle. From Norma's writing style you feel like you're there too, experiencing the hardships, adventures, and crazy wildlife encounters they experienced. The Minook Valley sounds like a beautiful piece of God's handiwork and the book was like getting to visit!
Thanks, Norma, for sharing your story!
3

June 30, 2017

Big Foot...really?
Once she started talking about Big Foot I lost interest. The book seems full of fluff.
1

Mar 07, 2017

I was very eager and excited to start reading because this book contained two of my most favourite subjects to read about: homesteading experiences and living in Alaska. However, within the first two chapters, I was shocked by the impulsiveness and thoughtlessness of the Cobbs, the parents of course. Their homesteading decision came about from Norma Cobb’s dream, which she claimed to be God’s guidance throughout the book. I was not so much bothered by her unwaveringly blind faith in God, which I I was very eager and excited to start reading because this book contained two of my most favourite subjects to read about: homesteading experiences and living in Alaska. However, within the first two chapters, I was shocked by the impulsiveness and thoughtlessness of the Cobbs, the parents of course. Their homesteading decision came about from Norma Cobb’s dream, which she claimed to be God’s guidance throughout the book. I was not so much bothered by her unwaveringly blind faith in God, which I believe people need living in the backcountry, but more disturbed by just how irresponsible the parents were to venture into a completely strange territory with five young children on a whim. With very little time to prepare themeselves, to do all the necessary research (which led to a huge misinformation about their eligibility to homestead in Canada), and to raise sufficient funds, they set out to chase a pipe dream of self-sufficiency. They were both naive and ignorant. Their stubbornness (and stupidity) costed them financially and psychologically damaged their children. It almost costed their lives and the lives of their children at multiple incidences as well.

In my opinion, their decision for homesteading did not originate from the love for nature or respect for the land. They pursued it so single-mindedly because they were desperate, trying to escape from their miserable lives in Colorado. When you are only earning minimum wages but having to feed seven people and paying all the bills, you start looking for quick fixes to your problems, as absurd as they may be. For the Cobbs, the solution lied in an utopian fantasy that would lead them far away from their previous problems.

Throughout the book, I was constantly reminded of the Cobbs’ poor decision to pursue homesteading in a haste. Norma Cobb writes about their near-death experiences, one after another, as if their survival is worth applauding for. So many problems they have encountered could be avoided with more careful planning that included preparing themselves better knowledge and skill-wise and financially.

I was also very bothered by the father, Lester Cobb’s, character. He is easily excited by the idea of getting rich fast, even if pursuing those ideas involves breaking the law and other rules. As long as he feels that his actions are justifiable, he would attempt them, regardless how his actions could impact others. I think it would be fine, the way he conducts himself, were he a bachelor living in the woods, but he was not. He had five children.

It is interesting for me to read about the difficulties imposed by both natural and human elements on people who choose to live off the land. Although I cringed and rolled my eyes way too many times reading this book, I did find the content of the book amusing.

I would not recommend this book to anybody. I think there must be better books about homesteading in Alaska out there. It is a 1 star book. ...more
5

January 1, 2015

Inspiring!
Mrs. Cobb thank you for the awesome mental vacation! I was very moved by the 'Out of the Box Thinking' so many of my fellow Americans have forgotten. The spirit needed for Homesteading was well described in your writings. I could see your family grow in strength and character as the chapters continued on... This should be required reading for the Liberals and Socialists so they can better observe how freedom and self subsistence living strengthens us as a Culture. The Mottshaw's Farm, Foster, Rhode Island.
3

July 7, 2013

I'd hoped for more
Normally I love these kinds of books of true story and adventure and I did like that aspect of this book. What I didn't like was her badmouthing all these people without their ability to defend themselves. I began to wonder why everyone was out to get her. Also, I didn't care for her preaching about why she was the best mother in the world. They had many near misses, but I wondered about dentists and doctors. Was she going to extract her own kid's teeth if they got a cavity? I also noticed that none of her children chose this lifestyle in the end. I thought she took a great story premise and kind of wrecked it with her bad blood between her family and other people and her self righteous attitude.
3

May 30, 2008

Amazing they all survived!
I have read many true story accounts of wilderness "Alaska Bush" living, but this one truly had me wondering how this family kept avoided being killed or dying from the unbelievable danger they continued to put themselves in. I found it interesting to read, but at the same time, almost painful. Living in Alaska, I see many, many adventure seekers who think they can make it in the bush without the necessary skills and knowledge it takes to survive on their own. It is truly a miracle that this family, although brave, all survived their experience.
2

Jan 10, 2012

The first part of this book I loved it. I was into Ms. Cobb's story and enjoyed reading about the issues that faced the family as they journeyed to settle in the wilds of Alaska. As her story unfolded I began to wonder about the truth behind her tale.
Alaska though it is the largest land wise of all of the United States, is a small community. So it was not surprising that the Cobb family had met and spent time with some more famous Alaskans. I was really turned off by Ms. Cobb's need to comment The first part of this book I loved it. I was into Ms. Cobb's story and enjoyed reading about the issues that faced the family as they journeyed to settle in the wilds of Alaska. As her story unfolded I began to wonder about the truth behind her tale.
Alaska though it is the largest land wise of all of the United States, is a small community. So it was not surprising that the Cobb family had met and spent time with some more famous Alaskans. I was really turned off by Ms. Cobb's need to comment on the attractiveness (or lack there of) in two Famous Iditarod champions while commenting about her own attractiveness. It was a real distraction from the story that she was telling. Finally by the end of the book it seemed to me that Ms. Cobb had some need to make others out to be less attractive and sissies if they weren't her or her then husband Les Cobb. That made me suspect her whole account. What were half truths or out right lies in this story? It was disappointing after such a strong start of the book. A little research on the internet and I found that some of the people mentioned in the book also had alternate accounts of their time with the Cobbs. This book is just a disappointment. ...more

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