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Publisher's Summary

A powerful new memoir about growing up with a hard father in a hard land

Atz Kilcher learned many vital skills while helping his parents carve a homestead out of the Alaskan wilderness: how to work hard, think on his feet, make do, invent, and use what was on hand to accomplish whatever task was in front of him. He also learned how to lie in order to please his often volatile father and put himself in harm's way to protect his mother and younger, weaker members of the family.

Much later in life, as Atz began to reflect on his upbringing, seek to understand his father, and heal his emotional scars, he discovered that the work of pioneering the frontier of the soul is an infinitely more difficult task than any of the back-breaking chores he performed on his family's homestead. Learning to use new tools - honesty, vulnerability, forgiveness, acceptance - and building upon the good helped him heal and learn to embrace the value of resilience.

This revised perspective has enabled him to tell an enhanced and more positive version of the legacy his father created and has him doing the most rewarding work of his life: mapping his own inner wilderness while drawing closer to his adult children, the next stewards of the land he helped his father carve out of the Alaskan frontier.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2018 Atz Kilcher (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 04-25-18

Wallowing In The Past, Abusing In The Present

I had every intention of loving Son of a Midnight Land. After all it gathers all my favorites: adventure, living off the land, memoir, resilience after hardship, courage to face the past, present, and future.
And the book does indeed have some of that. But not much. Mostly, it's a book about Atz telling us over and over and over, "The reason I'm so abusive is, well, it's my dad's fault. All of it!"
I did expect hard memories, but who hasn't had a rough childhood? Atz treats his wives, each of his children (and oh my, is he proud that he's Jewel's father, or what?) so abusively it's horrible. My husband told me that the man is showing courage for owning up to what he did, who he is, in such a public way, so I started cutting Atz some slack. But the more the book went on, the more whining I endured. He wasn't abusive, his "hand was filled with the devil". His children had a hard time when he was beating them, and he didn't want to be like his own father, so he stopped beating and started grabbing them by their shirts, shaking them until they chattered and shook. And so he stopped that, sometimes, and stuck to shaming and berating. And in an open letter to his kids as a whole, he apologizes for hitting them (not the rest) but then says, "Oh I failed; I was supposed to make you see your failings."
Yeesh!
Yes, there's some strength in the writing, some sheer poetry. He is, after all, a master storyteller. And when he describes butchering at an age when he was far too young to see it, it's the harshest, most honestly brutal thing I've ever heard. VERY strongly and well-written.
But for the most part, Atz is a man who says, "I've done wrong, it was my dad's fault."
He does show some insight. I only hope it's come early enough so that his grandson feels the honest love that's there.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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A Difficult Critique

What disappointed you about Son of a Midnight Land?

As a fan of the show, I guess I expected much more. I have never written a book review, but feel compelled with this one. This book seemed to have a hidden agenda while exposing very little about life on the frontier.

What was most disappointing about Atz Kilcher’s story?

I believe Atz's main intention was to make amends with his children through this book. While openly taking accountability for his misdeeds, he tends to overly rely on his unfortunate upbringing and treatment by his father. I guess I have a hard time respecting the disrespect of the deceased in effort to find support from your offspring. In short, he threw his father under the bus in order to improve his own family relations. As someone born and raised as a farm kid in the Rockies, this simply isn't the "Cowboy Way."

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Atz read this book as the victim. I think he could have told the story more forthright.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Son of a Midnight Land?

Most of the personal dialogue directed to his children explaining his emotional turmoil.

Any additional comments?

I am glad I bought the book. I enjoy the romanticism of the show and wanted to learn more. Unfortunately life of the Kilcher homestead isn't what I hoped it would be. Rounding up the same 30 cows for "cattle drives" along the beach really isn't homesteading. It's an act. Perhaps I like the idea of the Kilcher homestead more than the reality of it..

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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thank you! for sharing the deeper story

I will listen to this story again. it's the best audible I've heard. I have listened to other authors read their story but Atz relived his story in this book. what a gift. I knew there was more under the surface of the show and this makes me want to hear more. I feel voyeuristic watching last frontier but I can't help it. I just love it. now I know for sure as different as your lives all are from mine you are also very much alike . wish I could come meet you Atz and hear your stories in person. ( oh yeah, I loved the show before I knew jewel was connected to you all and loved it then and love it now). where can I get a hold of the songs at the end of each chapter?I'm sharing this to my parents.they will appreciate as well

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amazing

what an amazing story of hardship, courage and love. very inspirational. A great American pioneer story with great storytelling.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful feeling reading this book!

Thank you for sharing you life and feelings. I will always be grateful for your showing us your vulnerability and healing.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Love the Kilcher family and their story

My goodness!
I could feel Azt senior’s pain.
He is a wonderful man and storyteller
Such wisdom has come thru ; thru all the abuse he has endured and what a truly hard and difficult lifestyle.
I must say overall the book was repetitive, less laments and more elaboration was my desire, take me further in your story. Let us know more personal stuff about 1st love, 1st book , belief system or spirituality.
Were you there when your 1st child was born? What were your successes? How did you stop feeling bad about yourself and make that enormous step towards kindness and understanding?
Thank you Azt for your wonderful story and SONGS! Love love your music!
Darby

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful!

This was such a raw and honest account of Atz and his family. It gives me an even greater respect for them and the lives they lead.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful