Leaving Alaska

Grant Sims, Author
Grant Sims, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $22 (315p) ISBN 978-0-87113-476-9
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In 1982, Sims, who had been a journalist and scriptwriter in California and Montana, went to Alaska seeking inspiration for a book. In time, he realized his dream of escape into the wilderness was an illusion: greed, politics and commercialism had eroded Alaska's environment and corrupted its Native American cultures. Sims decided to leave, but the wreck of the Exxon Valdez in 1989, which spilled millions of gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, convinced him to stay and write this account of the lives of a dozen Alaskans caught between hope and despair while attempting to deal with the loss of America's last frontier. But his book disappoints, largely because it is told in an impressionistic style that makes his subjects as elusive as solutions to the problem of how to save Alaska. In addition, Sims never satisfactorily explains why he himself finally gave up the fight and left. He now lives in Oregon. (June)
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