Fifty Miles from Tomorrow (Hardcover)
A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People
Sarah Crichton Books, 9780374154844, 272pp.
Publication Date: December 23, 2008
About the Author
Praise For Fifty Miles from Tomorrow: A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People…
“With his memoir of Alaska, the Iñupiat elder William L. Iggiagruk Hensley offers a coming-of-age story for a state and a people, both still young and in the making. And while there are familiar notes in the Dickensian telling of this tale, Hensley manages to make fresh an old narrative of people who arise just as their culture is being erased . . . His book is also bright and detailed, moving along at a clip most sled dogs would have trouble keeping up with. . . . On a personal level, the book is riveting autobiography. Anyone who thinks times are hard now need only consider a winter spent on an ice floor under a sod roof, and the prospect of a life-or-death journey to the outhouse. . . . But the rush to modern life took a big psychic toll. Alcohol, suicide, domestic violence—the familiar litany of native social ills—prompted a long journey of the soul for Hensley. As with every other episode of his life, it is told here with a Far Northern twist and an intimacy with the land and the heart.” —Timothy Egan, The New York Times Book Review “Illuminating . . . ‘Fifty Miles from Tomorrow’ is an entertaining and affecting portrait of a man and his extraordinary milieu.” —The Washington Post “Mr. Hensley’s account of what it’s like to grow up in the far north, 50 miles from the International Date Line, is rarely less than gripping.” Dwight Garner, The New York Times “On one level, this strongly written and evocative book is the story of a man, his people—the Iñupiat, or ‘the real people’—and their world and culture. On another, it’s the story of the politics of land use and energy development.” —The Washington Times “Lean but vivid prose. . . . Ultimately this book must be seen as part of that movement—as a chance for an Alaskan Inuit to leave a record of his own experience rather than to be defined by books written by outsiders. This book is his chance to celebrate and strengthen the spirit of his own people.” —The Oregonian “A compelling tale of doing what had to be done and recognizing the spiritual depth and profound love it takes to become a real person in Alaska, or anywhere else.” —Bookforum “An enlightening, affirmative look at Inuit culture and history by a devoted champion.” —Kirkus Reviews “Although this fascinating memoir is set hundreds of miles from where most Americans have ever dared to travel, Hensley brings to life this ‘little-known part of America’ through myriad tales of toil, triumph and the Inupiat Ilitqusiat—the Inupiat spirit. . . . Through his entire adult life, Hensley’s mission has been simple: to ensure the Inupiat are allowed to keep their rights and their land. There are rich details of hunting adventures and typical childhood struggles, but the deep-rooted values and strength of the Inupiat people are what make this work truly sing.” —Publishers Weekly, Pick of the week