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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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Campbell, James: The Final Frontiersman

  Amazon  

4.5 stars

Heimo Korth has lived in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for nearly thirty years, eking out a subsistence living some 250 miles from the nearest road. He moved to Alaska at twenty, eager to escape an abusive father and unwilling to submit to the yoke of a nine-to-five job. For six years Heimo ("HI-mow") lived alone, trapping and hunting and flying out occasionally with bush pilots to sell his furs. But in 1982 Heimo married Edna, whom he met while walrus hunting on St. Lawrence Island, and she followed her husband to the wilderness. They have lived together since in this desolate place where the sun dips below the horizon in November and isn't seen again until January, where temperatures range from a balmy 80 degrees to 50 below. They and their daughters live a semi-nomadic life, moving each spring from one of their three cabins to another so as not to deplete the animal populations in any one area. Every summer they spend six weeks in Fort Yukon, population 750, stocking up on supplies and getting a small taste of civilization.

James Campbell, who happens to be Heimo's cousin, visited the Korths several times beginning in 2002. In telling Heimo's story Campbell juxtaposes descriptions of life in the Arctic--the logistics of carving up a dead moose, the efficient reuse of toilet paper as a firestarter--with stories of Heimo's boyhood in Wisconsin and discussion of the politics of land apportionment in Alaska. The result is a fascinating look at a lifestyle that is impossibly alien yet unexpectedly familiar: Heimo's teenagers tack Britney Spears posters to the walls of their cabin.

One begins reading Campbell's account with incredulity, wondering why anyone would choose to live in such an extreme environment and whether the Korths were wise to raise their children there. But reading the fascinating, sometimes heartrending story of Heimo and Edna's life one comes to respect them and their decisions. We are left hoping that Heimo manages to live out his days as he wishes, growing old in a wilderness few men before him have experienced.

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