Samuel "Sam" M. Keith grew up in New England and worked in the CCC during the Great Depression. During World War II he served as a air combat crewman in the Pacific. After his military service ended, Sam attended and graduated from Cornell University. He followed his dream to go to Alaska where he met Richard "Dick" Proenneke in the 1950s on Kodiak Island. He also worked on the Alaska Peninsula and at Kenai for a total of three years before returning to Massachusetts where he met his future wife, Jane. Then he married Jane and began a 26-year career teaching English and eventually becoming an assistant vice principal. In August 1970 he visited Dick's new log cabin on Lake Clark in the wilderness of Alaska. Sam convinced Dick to let him borrow his journals from 1968-1969 as the factual basis for writing the now best-selling book, ONE MAN'S WILDERNESS. Sam passed away in Anderson, South Carolina on March 28, 2003.
Richard "Dick" Louis Proenneke was born in 1916 in Primrose, Iowa and dropped out of high school in nearby Donnellson, Iowa to work on farms during the Great Depression in the early 1930s. In 1939 he undertook a long "working" road trip through the West. On December 8, 1941 he joined the U.S. Navy and served with distinction until he developed rheumatic fever and was given a medical discharge from the Navy in 1945. After some work in Oregon after his discharge, he left for Alaska in 1950. His work in Alaska centered around commercial fishing, a mechanic, and a heavy equipment operator. He first visited Twin Lakes in 1962. He build his cabin at Twin Lakes by cutting logs for it in the summer of 1967. He lived in his cabin until 1998 when he donated the cabin and his possessions to the U.S. National Park Service and left to live with his brother in California. Today, Dick Proenneke's cabin still sits on Upper Twin Lake in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Dick passed away in Hemet, California on April 20, 2003, a few weeks after his friend, Sam Keith had pass away.
This best-selling memoir from Richard Proenneke's journals and with firsthand knowledge of his subject and the setting, Sam Keith has women a tribute to a man who carved his masterpiece out of the beyond. To live in a pristine land unchanged by man . . . to roam a wilderness through which few other humans has passed . . . to choose an idyllic site, cut trees by hand, and build a log cabin. . . to be self-sufficient craftsman, making what is needed from materials available...to be not at odds with the world, but content with one's own thoughts, dreams and company. Thousands have had such dreams, but Richard Proenneke lived them. This book is a moving account of the day-to-day explorations and activities Dick carried out alone....alone in the wilderness...and the constant chain of nature's events that kept him company.