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  • Forty Years in the Wilderness

  • One Woman’s Adventures and Struggles Homesteading in the Alaskan Wilderness
  • Written by: Dolly Faulkner
  • Narrated by: Janet Metzger
  • Length: 12 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Biographies & Memoirs, Women
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"The encounter was so sudden it took my breath away, and for a single moment I stood frozen, staring into the grizzly's eyes. It was so close I could reach out and touch its shaggy bronze fur."  

Dolly Faulkner has many heart-stopping moments of terror and anxiety, living much of the time truly alone in the Alaskan wilderness. But she is not lonely, as the awesome space and beauty of the mountains fill her with appreciation of all things of nature. 

Dolly Faulkner came to Alaska as a young woman with the dream of living in the wilderness. Forty Years in the Wilderness is a true reality of carving out a homestead in the Kilbuck Mountains near a minor hotsprings that the regional Native corporation is now trying to claim. She is now a senior citizen, still living in the wilderness after the death of her husband. Her struggles and adventures continue, so she has many more stories to tell.

©2012 Dolly Faulkner (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about Forty Years in the Wilderness

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Subsistence

It is a way of life in the north. The strength and courage explained in this writing are the basis of daily living and survival… after many years of living in the north it is easy to relate to the struggles.
Bush pilots are a breed of men and women who are experts at what they do… they are the unsung hero’s of the north and the subsistence lifestyle is not for the faint of heart … great reading.

Rolly

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Would love to hear more!

I really enjoyed this story. Although I missed hearing what happens to the other two sisters, Lisa..etc. what a great story of a family that worked and lived in the tough Alaskan wilderness!

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  • Jan
  • 2021-08-21

Really enjoyed this book!

I felt I was right there when listening to this book. The narration wasn’t quite in synch with the story which is the only reason I didn’t give it an overall 5 stars.

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loved it.

One of the best books I’ve listened to. Although I did not grow up in the secluded wilderness, there were a lot of similarities so it reminded me in many ways of my childhood, the hunting, cutting firewood, trapping and living off the land. Great life story. I wish Dolly and family all the best in finding a permanent way in saving their home.

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  • Kris Rarig
  • 2019-10-01

Does it ever get good?

I made it to Chapter 10. An abusive, child-beating husband who allows his children to be horrible and disrespectful to his wife. And she tolerates it. I couldn't find a character to like, so not for me. Read the Indian Creek Chronicles if you want a good story.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Grumpy Old White Guy
  • 2020-09-29

40 years of abuse

This woman lived with an abusive husband and abusive step children, cringeworthy tales of verbal and physical abuse. The abusive situations detract from an otherwise story of living in Alaska between the bush and covilization. Very sad.

5 people found this helpful

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  • survival1
  • 2019-07-26

The account of a real life

Great job Dolly. Fascinating account of life in backwoods Alaska. Challenging in every way and yet your delight comes through as you describe decades of details.

3 people found this helpful

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  • B. Green
  • 2020-12-15

Good story but read with caution

I'll start by saying I enjoy books about survival in the wilderness and love hearing how people deal with situations differently. However let me WARN you, HARRY is not just an abusive husband and father but CRUEL. This story will make you mad at the amount of abuse Dolly endures not only from Harry but his 2 crazy daughters from a previous relationship. With that said this story is well written and I enjoyed reading of her adventures and those of her young son and daughter. It has its moments that will make you laugh and others where you cry for the loses she endures. We learn of a land dispute that she is currently having that will make you irate and want to do something to help her. Maybe someone reading this book will have an idea that can help her with her land issue. if you can get past her asshole husband and read the entire book, I feel like most folks will be cheering Dolly and her now grown daughter on and hope she is able to keep her homestead. I wanted to stop reading because the abuse really bothered me but I'm glad I kept going. She has 2 more books after this and I will read them. ..UPDATE...I have now read all 3 of her books and so glad I did. I couldn't stop reading them, I must say they may be the best books I've read about living in Alaska and I have read many. They also rank in my top 5 books about homesteading anywhere. I do hope she continues to write , she has a special gift with her style of writing.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-12-11

Stopped about 2 hours in.

Its written like a children's book. I was really looking forward to the story because the content is of great interest to me. Sadly though it's clear the author is not a writer by precession. What's worse is that it is also read like a 2nd grade teacher reading aloud to her classroom.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Fhenyx
  • 2019-12-31

BEST READ EVER!

I enjoyed every minute of this book. I felt like I was there. Thank you so much for this book. As an avid OffGrid person this book is as real as it gets. I could read this book all over again and still enjoy it.

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  • jennifer
  • 2019-12-21

Getting through some chapters is hard but worth it

Hearing the verbal emotional and physical abuse Dolly's husband doled out was enough to make me so angry at Dolly for standing by such a man that I nearly returned the book.
I finished it though and am glad I did.
I hope her daughter writes a book. My heart aches for the children of Dolly''s husband's daughters by previous marriages. I wish we could find out where they are now and what happened to them

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  • Patricia D
  • 2022-08-05

Full of domestic abuse of wife & children

I normally love stories in such a setting, but it was a battle to even finish this one. To help understand this review; the homestead could only be reached by flight or by walking about a hundred miles

The author—the wife—was brutally abused. The children were abused and the mother did nothing to keep them safe. The abuse was both physical and verbal.
Examples: once the physical abuse was so bad that the kids thought the mom would die. By then the dad had run off back to town.
The father/husband regularly left the wife and children with no food other than what they could hunt/gather (in an area where fish were not an option) even when game was sparse while he went away to live in town. For years his time was mostly spent in town with the children and wives often going hungry for long periods. When he did show up he brought groceries for himself and wife was expected to cook two meals—one for him with the groceries he brought and one for herself and the kids with what they hunted, grew, or gathered. Not until the daughter was old enough to find work in town did the mother have groceries and only because she bought them and brought them to her mother n

Abuse was also verbal and emotional with the father frequently and regularly calling the daughters whores both to their face and to the mother.

The disabled son had such a horrible life that it was probably the cause or at least a contributor to his suicide.

Wife stays with Assholr abuser til death.

Lots of touches of bigotry, too. This wasn’t just limited to their problems with a Native owned corporation trying to steal their land. I can understand them being upset about this. But the bigotry against native people and other minorities is found through the whole book over and over again.

Total waste of money and I regret not returning it at the first instant of abuse.

The performance was also stilted with very odd inflections.

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  • Dawn
  • 2022-07-26

Very Interesting Read

I truly enjoyed this family's story of living off grid in the wilderness of Alaska. Their lives were full of hardship and obstacles they had to work through. I would highly recommend.

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  • Joe Doro
  • 2022-06-29

Glad they weren't my neighbors

Suffered through the entire book hoping that eventually there would be some insight as to why someone would want to homestead in Alaska and suffer through near tragedy after near tragedy. But one never learns this other than the desire to have some privacy.

So we have:

An abusive husband with no parenting skills and few if any redeeming qualities who rails against the government yet in the end turns to the government for help and then complains when things don't go smoothly.

An enabling spouse who is there for reasons we never really understand. maybe I missed it but why did she ever leave Wisconsin in the first place?

A one-sided story of the conflict over who owns the land. White folk come and steal the land from the natives and that's good. But when the natives in return try to steal the land back from the white folk that's bad. I would have loved to have heard the other side of the story as well.

And the recurrent not so subtle racism. Basically the natives get everything. If dad had married a native I'd have health insurance. The best one was when the woman from Iowa remarked about a woman of color up there as to how she made a living for herself and not relied on government handouts. Because we do know that people of color all rely on the government for handouts as opposed to white folk who all work hard for a living.

My interest in books like these are to gain some insight from these people as to why they do what they do but unfortunately those are far and few between.