Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on


Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier [PDF / Epub] ☀ Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier By Tom Kizzia – Thomashillier.co.uk 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, spellbi Into the Wild meets Helter Skelter A True eBook ↠ 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 fifteen 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 Within weeks, Pilgrim's Wilderness: eBook ↠ Papa had bulldozed a road through the mountains to the new family home at an abandoned copper mine, sparking a tense confrontation with the National Park Service and forcing his ghost town neighbors to take sides in an ever volatile battle over where a citizen s rights end and the government s power begins 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 Wilderness: A True Epub á As Kizzia discovered, Papa Pilgrim was in fact the son of a rich Texas family with ties to Hoover s FBI and strange, oblique connections to the Kennedy assassination and the movie stars of Easy Rider And as his fight with the government in Alaska grew 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, 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.

    Free Unlimited eBook fight with the government in Alaska grew 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, 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."/>
  • ebook
  • 336 pages
  • Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier
  • Tom Kizzia
  • English
  • 08 October 2018
  • 0307587843

About the Author: Tom Kizzia

Tom Kizzia traveled widely in rural A True eBook ↠ Alaska as a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News He has written for The New Yorker and The Washington Post and been featured on CNN Tom is a former Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University and a graduate of Hampshire College His stories about the Pilgrim Family won a President s Award from McClatchy Newspapers His first book, The Wake of the Unseen Object, was named one of the best all time non fiction books about Alaska by the state historical society He lives in Homer, Alaska.



10 thoughts on “Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier

  1. Caitlin Caitlin says:

    Long time Alaska journalist Tom Kizzia is the only person who could have written this in depth, heart wrenching book His years of involvement with the Pilgrim family as a reporter and intimate knowledge of the wilderness community of McCarthy allow him to tell their incredible story without sensationalizing it Instead, Kizzia brings together the many strands of the Pilgrims story almost unbelievable, but for the fact that they are true and recounts their tale with clarity, compassion, a Long time Alaska journalist Tom Kizzia is the only person who could have written this in depth, heart wrenching book His years of involvement with the Pilgrim family as a reporter and intimate knowledge of the wilderness community of McCarthy allow him to tell their incredible story without sensationalizing it Instead, Kizzia brings together the many strands of the Pilgrims story almost unbelievable, but for the fact that they are true and recounts their tale with clarity, compassion, and a journalist s keen eye for verifiable detail.Pilgrim s Wilderness is the best kind of nonfiction writing It is lyrical, captivating, and provides an in depth portrait of a family far removed from mainstream life, and a small remote community that few people will ever visit This is a must read for anyone interested in Alaska, in family life, in extremist religion, in cults, in back to the land movements, in the vast project of protecting American wilderness through the National Parks Service, in small town life, in media spin, and in just plain good writing To be concise almost everyone will find something to appreciate about this fascinating book

  2. Melki Melki says:

    With God s direction, he had raised up his children on horseback in New Mexico mountains named for the Blood of Christ There were fifteen of them, he said Pilgrim was a trained midwife and had delivered each child at home They had never seen a television or experienced the temptations of the world They were schooled at home, tended flocks of sheep in alpine meadows, made their own buckskin, and lived pretty much as their forebears did a century ago, innocent and capable and strong, spinning With God s direction, he had raised up his children on horseback in New Mexico mountains named for the Blood of Christ There were fifteen of them, he said Pilgrim was a trained midwife and had delivered each child at home They had never seen a television or experienced the temptations of the world They were schooled at home, tended flocks of sheep in alpine meadows, made their own buckskin, and lived pretty much as their forebears did a century ago, innocent and capable and strong, spinning wool, making lye soap and each night singing songs of praise.I finished this book less than an hour ago and I m not sure whether to let my fury die down a bit or just let her rip This is not a pretty book This is not a fun book If you read it, it will angry up your blood Ah, what the hellR I P To some, Bob Hale was colorful and harmless Others referred to him as a holy terror Unfortunately for everyone who loved him, he was the latter He took the words of the Bible quite literally, though thought nothing of interpreting scripture to his own benefit He railed against government interference, though had no qualms about accepting the food stamps that helped sustain the pioneer dream And God s Thou Shalt Not Steal directive was apparently only a suggestion to Holy Bob According to one neighbor That family would steal from your freezer or your shed, a little at a time so you wouldn t notice A bridle A shovel If you had chickens, you didn t have eggs in the morning They would steal the horses that were pregnant and send the animal back down the mountain without the colt Every time you caught him red handed, it was the Lord this, the Lord that Not surprisingly, he quickly wore out his welcome in the American Southwest Hale renamed himself Papa Pilgrim and moved his huge family to a remote area of Alaska where he promptly started a war with the National Park Service Rangers conducting an investigation into Papa s illegal bulldozing of park lands were followed by a squad of silent, staring and heavily armed Pilgrim teenagers Lawsuits quickly followed and Pilgrim managed to steal the sympathies of local residents with his David vs Goliath routine.Oh, but if they only knew what really went on behind cabin doors .For all his claims that the children were home schooled, the family only possessed two books The Holy Bible and The Pilgrim s Progress The majority of his kids were illiterate Even worse, the children were expected to listen quietly to Papa and not ask questionsor else If the children strayed, Papa was near to guide them back with a loving correction This was the duty of a father.Here s where it gets just plain sickAll the children had known bruises and welts, bloody noses, and swollen lips inflicted in front of the others There had been a few broken bone.Pissed off yet view spoiler When his oldest daughter turned eighteen, Papa, citing biblical precedent, began having sexual relations with her hide spoiler Feel like beating Papa with a tire iron yet I really, really wanted to His children may have forgiven him, but I sure as hell haven t And speaking of Hell, let s hope there s a special, incredibly horrific place set aside for those who twist the teachings of their God to suit their own perverted purposes.Whew Oddly enough, I don t feel any better at having gotten that out of my system.I need cupcakes STAT

  3. Kenny Smith Kenny Smith says:

    Great book I ordered it way back, from Random House, when I received a notice that it would be coming out in a couple of months When I received my copy and started reading, it kept me up until 2 30AM one night Actually, I have a cabin in McCarthy and spend my summers there We live in Anchorage but I have a long history with Kennecott and McCarthy, being almost born there I knew Pilgrim but didn t really care for him so I stayed away, primarily due his manipulative nature with scripture I d Great book I ordered it way back, from Random House, when I received a notice that it would be coming out in a couple of months When I received my copy and started reading, it kept me up until 2 30AM one night Actually, I have a cabin in McCarthy and spend my summers there We live in Anchorage but I have a long history with Kennecott and McCarthy, being almost born there I knew Pilgrim but didn t really care for him so I stayed away, primarily due his manipulative nature with scripture I did however, interact with two of the boys on a number of occasions and did like them Having said that, it caught me by surprise when the incest and brutality revelations surfaced.I believe that nobody could have written a better book on this human debacle than Kizzia He has some experience in the area and was one who hadobjective interface with them than anyone else He did an excellent job using exhaustive research This is a sordid bit of Alaska history that should not be ignored, Alaskans should read it.In it I found a lot of stuff I didn t know about the Pilgrim story and where Kizzia related events that had occurred, which I was familiar with based on other sources, I found his version to be consistent I do disagree with him in a number of areas though 1 In his intensity to be unbiased with respect to ideological opinion of both the proponents and opponents involved in the Pilgrim chronicle I believe he did not give the National Park Service role a fair assessment Being in neither camp myself I look back on the events before Pilgrim s fall from grace and demise and agonize over the vindictive and vitriolic treatment some of the NPS personnel received from the three principal government hating benefactors of the Pilgrim incursion into the nations largest national park True, the park service could have handled things differently onthan one occasion but one has to recognize that initially they were under extreme pressure and being tormented by demagogues who slandered them, using falsehoods and blatant lies did not make their job easier I believe Kizzia should have indicated that these proponents of the Pilgrim indiscretions at least owe partial apology to a few of the public servants they so cheerily denigrated at the time.2 Kizzia was correct in painting a picture of the area s historicity and environment in order to make it easier for the lay reader to understand the story In some areas though his history leaves much to be desired I realize it is virtually impossible to get pertinent historical facts down with 100% accuracy, however, Kizzia runs into a pet peeve of mine Shortly after the turn of the century the Alaska Syndicate was created by financiers comprised mainly of the JP Morgan Bank and the Guggenheim mining interests in order to develop the copper ore discoveries in Alaska next to the Kennicott Glacier In order to accomplish this, three corporations were established The primary one being the Kennecott Copper Corporation The misspelling occurred back then either as a mistake or a deliberate action Whatever, Kennecott became the name of the world s largest copper producing company At no time was there a town or community named Kennicott The corporation established its Alaska headquarter community alongside the Kennicott Glacier and located its processing facilities there and it was called Kennecott One can look at numerous newspapers, dating all the way back to the early years of the 20th century and find hundreds of articles and accounts referencing Kennecott No where can I find a spelling Kennicott unless it be a reference to the glacier or the river That is, until about 1971 when the environmental studies office of the University of California developed an Environmental plan for the Wrangell Mountains wherein they gave reference to the Townsite of Kennicott i.e pages 20 56 Now, it is understandable that environmental purists resent the one time introduction of heavy mining industry into such a beautiful pristine mountain wilderness area, but attempt to rewrite history is not professional nor does it give credibility to such studies To this day, even the contemporary museum at McCarthy gets caught up in this renaming effort by referencing the Kennicott Townsite in its by laws Nevertheless, Kizzia, intentionally or otherwise, also gets hooked and says this on page 12 Some of the old buildings at Kennicott were in private hands, but the park Service had started buying up the properties and calling everything Kennecott, with an e Local people had always spelled it with an i, Nothing could be farther from the truth 3 Most of us were not aware of Pilgrim s real name, Robert Hale, and that he had been directly involved in Governor John Connally s pregnant daughter, Kathleen s, death until the Washington Post came out with a very revealing article regarding Robert and his famous football player father It is my understanding that Kizzia may have been the first to discover this relationship and passed it on to the Post reporter who also went up to the Pilgrim s Marvelous Millsite Unfortunately, Kizzia s Anchorage Daily News must have not seen fit to run with the story until the Post beat them to the punch Nevertheless, one should give credit where credit is due Unless I missed something here, Tom did not do that

  4. Bonnie Brody Bonnie Brody says:

    Alaska tends to attract eccentric people It s a frontier and there are communities that are actually the end of the road To go further, one must traverse rivers, streams, mountains and brush all without roads or regular access It happened in 2002 that a man calling himself Papa Pilgrim arrived in McCarthy, Alaska with his wife and thirteen children McCarthy, a very small community in the summer and a nearly empty community in the winter is, indeed, the end of the road and the entrance to t Alaska tends to attract eccentric people It s a frontier and there are communities that are actually the end of the road To go further, one must traverse rivers, streams, mountains and brush all without roads or regular access It happened in 2002 that a man calling himself Papa Pilgrim arrived in McCarthy, Alaska with his wife and thirteen children McCarthy, a very small community in the summer and a nearly empty community in the winter is, indeed, the end of the road and the entrance to the Wrangell St Elias National Park, the largest national park in the United States.Papa Pilgrim, once known in Texas as Robert Hale, had a sketchy background He was married once to a woman named Kathleen who died with a shotgun blast to the back of her head The gun had no fingerprints on it and Robert was let go with the death deemed accidental Kathleen was pregnant at the time of her death Robert married twotimes and fathered four children before he met 16 year old Kurana Rose who he married when he was 33 By this time he had found religion and was a bible thumping Christian who interpreted the scriptures in his own profoundly arrogant way He traveled to New Mexico but ran into troubles with his neighbors and the law there He ended up in Alaska finding Fairbanks and Anchorage too urban and big, and running into trouble in both places.When he arrived in McCarthy with his then 13 children, he ended up bulldozing a road into the National Park A long and contentious legal battle ensued with the park because he was said not to have gotten the correct licenses to clear the land He settled in a remote area of the park near an abandoned copper mine that he called the Mother Lode His family lived in a one room cabin that was so small that the only way they could sleep at night was to line up in sleeping bags on the floor By the time he reached McCarthy, he was known as Papa Pilgrim and his wife was called Country Rose The older children, who once had hippie names, were renamed biblically While in Hillbilly Heaven, threechildren were born.On the outside, things looked idyllic with the Pilgrim clan but some people were suspicious McCarthy was divided about whether they liked or disliked this family and whether they sided with the National Park Service or with the Pilgrims However, it didn t take long to realize that all was not as it seemed with the Pilgrim family Though they played music beautifully, all self taught, the children could not read, they were being physically and sexually abused, and domestic violence was predominant in the household, all perpetrated by Papa Pilgrim.This book is derived from a series of articles published by Tom Kizzia in an Anchorage newspaper He has done further investigation to make these articles into a book and it is a page turner of the best sort It is fascinating and frightening but it is hard to stop reading it Most importantly, it is all true If you like books like Helter Skelter or other true crime novels if you like reading outdoor adventure stories then this book is for you There is not a boring page to be found.I must add one caveat I lived in Fairbanks for 44 years and have visited McCarthy where my husband has served as artist in residence for the last two years He will be there this summer as well He travels deep into the Wrangell St Elias mountains to paint and spends a lot of time in the town as well I know some of the characters in the book and it made it all thatreal for me Kizzia captures the town of McCarthy and its people very well

  5. Becky Becky says:

    I confess, I m a sucker for stories about crazy people, religious nuts, large families, and counter cultural experiments gone bad Also, the villain of this tale Papa Pilgrim began life in a prominent family in my hometown, which always makes things interesting The story is compelling and the writing and research seems good There s a bit of a cautionary tale here about using real people as symbols for some political cause people are generally messier than we want to make them with our pat e I confess, I m a sucker for stories about crazy people, religious nuts, large families, and counter cultural experiments gone bad Also, the villain of this tale Papa Pilgrim began life in a prominent family in my hometown, which always makes things interesting The story is compelling and the writing and research seems good There s a bit of a cautionary tale here about using real people as symbols for some political cause people are generally messier than we want to make them with our pat explanations and tidy tales In this case, though, media attention on the Pilgrim family helped them out of a scary and dangerous situation It makes me wonder about people who claim that some specific level of social organization is suspect or dispensable whether their proposed bad guy is government, church, school, a club, the neighborhood, or family It seems to me that each provides checks and balances to the others When family fails someone, school may help if school fails, maybe a club can help if church fails us, maybe law enforcement can help, etc Sure, some people aren t joiners whatever But isolating one s kids Bad sign

  6. Heather Fineisen Heather Fineisen says:

    Maybe we are brainwashed How would we know What is Pilgrim s Wilderness A true crime A memoir An adventure An Alaskan History Environmental thriller Love Story Cult nightmare I could go on It is hard to describe a book that takes a bible spouting father calling himself Pilgrim with an almost Forrest Gump like brush with historical figures from John F Kennedy to Sarah Palin as he and his family of followers live off the land in the great state of Alaska This is not a predictable s Maybe we are brainwashed How would we know What is Pilgrim s Wilderness A true crime A memoir An adventure An Alaskan History Environmental thriller Love Story Cult nightmare I could go on It is hard to describe a book that takes a bible spouting father calling himself Pilgrim with an almost Forrest Gump like brush with historical figures from John F Kennedy to Sarah Palin as he and his family of followers live off the land in the great state of Alaska This is not a predictable story This is not a boring story It is all over the place with crazy connections that mirror our own country s struggling ethics through history while telling the story of one man and author Tom Kizzia brings it all together with his own personal twist Surprising and disturbing, you will not be disappointed provided by publisher

  7. Lori Lori says:

    I was not expecting this book to be a page turner, but it is Superb writing and organization by Mr Kizzia serve the story of creepy fanatic religious hypocrite Papa Pilgrim Hale and his family well This is a disturbing and honest look at a dangerous man marinating in self righteousness, and the sadistic wounds and pain he inflicted on his family Hale counted on McCarthy, Alaska to shield his brutality and line his pockets, and it did, for a while There s not exactly a happy ending but a h I was not expecting this book to be a page turner, but it is Superb writing and organization by Mr Kizzia serve the story of creepy fanatic religious hypocrite Papa Pilgrim Hale and his family well This is a disturbing and honest look at a dangerous man marinating in self righteousness, and the sadistic wounds and pain he inflicted on his family Hale counted on McCarthy, Alaska to shield his brutality and line his pockets, and it did, for a while There s not exactly a happy ending but a hopeful one The fact that Kizzia is familiar with some of the participants and that part of Alaska gives his book added credibility and heft and, at times, poignance A sad story, well told.

  8. Cathrine ☯️ Cathrine ☯️ says:

    3.5 great audio book on my walks s

  9. leslie beaird leslie beaird says:

    Oh my GOSH This book is AWFUL I read 50 pages..then went 50I kept reading, but I can t go on There is no building up of the characters.you never connect with anyonepeople come and go with little snippets of information. No story ever builds up I READ Helter Skelter and truly enjoyed it This book comes no where near in comparison.I am so puzzled at all the 5 starsmaybe it s me I just don t get it.I could not get into the rhythm of this bookI Oh my GOSH This book is AWFUL I read 50 pages..then went 50I kept reading, but I can t go on There is no building up of the characters.you never connect with anyonepeople come and go with little snippets of information. No story ever builds up I READ Helter Skelter and truly enjoyed it This book comes no where near in comparison.I am so puzzled at all the 5 starsmaybe it s me I just don t get it.I could not get into the rhythm of this bookI was so excited to read it and I am SO DISAPPOINTED

  10. Scott Scott says:

    I expectedfrom this book Into The Wild meets Helter Skelter.not so much The insight into the Alaskan mindset and how they related to each other, the National Parks service and the environmentalists was very interesting It s funny how alliances are made and broken over the passage of time.The Pilgrim family story was eye opening at first, but rather predictable towards the end I felt bad for so many individuals in this tale.The story is worth knowing and it makes you want to go to I expectedfrom this book Into The Wild meets Helter Skelter.not so much The insight into the Alaskan mindset and how they related to each other, the National Parks service and the environmentalists was very interesting It s funny how alliances are made and broken over the passage of time.The Pilgrim family story was eye opening at first, but rather predictable towards the end I felt bad for so many individuals in this tale.The story is worth knowing and it makes you want to go to McCarthy Alaska Read it only when you have run out of four star choices

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