Overall, the five books on my reading list were all very interesting and I’m glad I read them. Their usefulness to someone interested in Alaska but not in my specific situation varies, however. I think the most useful single book on the list as a general introduction to Alaska is McPhee. Also good as a general introduction to the Arctic, but not focused on Alaska specifically, is Lopez. For those with a more historical interest in the state, Marshall is great; conversely, for those more interested in the idea of how someone might live “off the grid” in the Alaska wilderness, Proenneke would be a better choice. Finally, Miles is good for those interested in the details of National Park Service history, a small group to be sure but one probably heavily overrepresented among my readership.
I’ve read a lot more about Alaska than these five books, of course, but I’ve decided that further discussion of Alaska is probably best suited for a different blog (or possibly more than one). From now on this blog will focus specifically on the prehistory of the Southwest and related issues, although I will of course let my readers here know of any additional blog projects I start on other topics.