Monday, March 31, 2014

Pilgrim's Wilderness

This is the true story of a family homesteading in Alaska. Papa Pilgrim brought his wife and fifteen children to Alaska to live in a simpler way. He claimed to live a peaceful christian life with old values. Soon after their arrival it became clear there was more to this family than they presented. They started a confrontation with the National Park Service after bulldozing National Park land. Their neighbors were caught in a conflict about individual rights and rights of the government. The family is also not as ideal as they present to their neighbors. Horrible abuses happen in their home.

I had a hard time connecting to the lives and struggles presented in this book. It was almost as if the writer had two voices while writing. There is the dry telling of conflict with the government over land issues in the Alaska national park, and one where the tone becomes more personal with the intimate portrayal of the family and the abuse Pilgrim put them through, and how he used religion to control them. The two different narratives did not flow well together.

It was a drawn out story about a political battle between the park service and this family. The abuses that this family suffered were horrible, and interspersed throughout the political conflicts the family was having. The same information could have been presented in a shorter book. The background portion of the book was detailed, but went on too long. I would have preferred less details about Pilgrim's time in Texas and less about the conflict with the National Park.

People interested in Alaska or National Parks might find this more interesting than I did.

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