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From the Bookshelf: “Pilgrim’s Wilderness”

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“Pilgrim’s Wilderness” by Tom Kizzia

Into the Wild meets Helter Skelter in this riveting true story of a modern-day homesteading family in the deepest reaches of the Alaskan wilderness – and of the chilling secrets of its maniacal, spellbinding patriarch.

When Papa Pilgrim appeared in the Alaska frontier outpost of McCarthy with his wife and 15 children in tow, his new neighbors had little idea of the trouble to come.  The Pilgrim Family presented themselves as a shining example of the homespun Christian ideal, with their proud piety and beautiful old-timey music, but their true story ran dark and deep.

In Pilgrim’s Wilderness, veteran Alaska journalist Tom Kizzia unfolds the remarkable, at times harrowing, story of a charismatic spinner of American myths who was not what he seemed, the townspeople caught in his thrall, and the family he brought to the brink of ruin.  In this powerful piece of Americana, written with uncommon grace and high drama, 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.

This gripping page-turner is currently available in book format at the Ellicottville Library and is also available in eBook format through our Library System.

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