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Publisher Description

Into the Wild meets Helter Skelter in this riveting true story of a modern-day homesteading family in the deepest reaches of the Alaskan wildernessand of the chilling secrets of its maniacal, spellbinding patriarch.
When Papa Pilgrim, his wife, and their fifteen children appeared in the Alaska frontier outpost of McCarthy, their new neighbors saw them as a shining example of the homespun Christian ideal. But behind the family's proud piety and beautiful old-timey music lay Pilgrim's dark past: his strange  connection to the Kennedy assassination and a trail of chaos and anguish that followed him from Dallas and New Mexico. Pilgrim soon sparked a tense confrontation with the National Park Service fiercely dividing the community over where a citizen’s rights end and the government’s power begins. As the battle grew more intense, the turmoil in his brood made it increasingly difficult to tell whether his children were messianic followers or hostages in desperate need of rescue. 

In this powerful piece of Americana, written with uncommon grace and high drama, veteran Alaska journalist, Tom Kizzia uses his unparalleled access to capture an era-defining clash between environmentalists and pioneers ignited by a mesmerizing sociopath who held a town and a family captive.

July 16
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

Others (271016530) ,

Clear your schedule, you won't want to put this down!

A riveting tale of a religious zealot who charms his way in & out of lives & places from Texas to Alaska.

Over the years, many of us have heard tales of when this family came through town, from bringing their goats into stores, asking for discounts on gas, being a part of ok corral-esque stand offs & more.

Tom Kizzia has finally pieced the puzzle together in a way that not only makes sense of all the pieces, but leads us along an extraordinary tale of epic proportions & characters.

Definite must read, but do be forewarned, you'll want to prepare, as you won't want to stop reading until you are well past the last page. Yes, even the afterward & footnotes are well written!

Nharringtonski ,

Waning an

What is a wanigan?
Loved the book although not an easy read. I had to look up a lot of words and terms. Quite a few words did not have definitions at least not on the iPad.
Nancy Harrington, Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Joyful717 ,

Good but not great

This is a compelling story but it seemed a bit stretched to make a book. A newspaper series would have sufficed. It often bogs down in land rights details but excels in character portraits. A good read and a quick read but shy of greatness.