Book cover of Chasing Alaska

“The stories are gripping in the way the best adventure writing is, with enough danger and discovery to keep the reader turning pages way past bedtime.” —Peter GeyeMinneapolis Star Tribune

Alaska makes everything ordinary impossible to bear.

As a young writer, C.B. Bernard lashed his canoe to his truck and pointed the bow upstream, north and west, seeking a different life than the one he’d made in his native New England. He found it in the small fishing town of Sitka, on an island where Southeast Alaska collides with the Pacific. He soon learned that he’d unknowingly followed the trail of a distant relative. Beginning in 1901, Captain Joe Bernard sailed the Arctic in his schooner Teddy Bear, living for decades among the Eskimo and Inuit “east of Barrow and north of everything.” His journals recount the shipwrecks and horrific winters he survived, his bouts with scurvy and starvation, and his observations about the land he came to love and the people who called it home.

As he chased the legacy of his explorer relative up the family tree, C.B. recovered those journals and used them as guides to his own explorations of Alaska, forming a landscape view of the remarkable place that lured both of them—two men anchored beneath the Northern Lights, separated only by time. Equal parts memoir, journalism, and historical adventure, Chasing Alaska is his moving portrait of the Last Frontier then and now. Discover the wilds and wonders of Alaska through the eyes of two men a century apart in this critically acclaimed book.

Finalist for a 2014 Oregon Book Award
Publishers Weekly Top 10 Pick | Bestseller
National Geographic Top 10 Pick | Bask Magazine Top Pick
North Shore Magazine Summer ReadExcerpted in the Utne Reader

Read the first chapter, or buy the book online from Powell’s independent bookstore.

Buy the Book