Land of Bear and Eagle: A Home in the Kodiak Wilderness
Hancock House Publishers LTD (2022)
Reviewed by Jen Oliver-Rigsby for Reader Views (1/2023)
“Land of Bear and Eagle” introduces readers to Tanyo Ravicz, a man who felt drawn to the Alaskan Wilderness and his chance of creating a homestead. Readers will also meet his wife, Martina, and their two children, along with some of the other residents of Kodiak Island. Readers will learn some of the culture and other inhabitants of Kodiak Island, not just the humans that tried to create a life on the island. Readers will learn what it meant to become a homesteader and some of the regulations that wannabe homesteaders had to follow in order to successfully claim their land.
The chapters of “Land of Bear and Eagle” are arranged alphabetically and are more of different segments or articles that discuss different aspects of Kodiak Island life instead of a progressive style type of book. The chapters include different types of wildlife that reside on Kodiak Island, flora on Kodiak Island, and ways of life as a homesteader. The chapters are quick to read and, in the Afterword, Ravicz explains that some of the chapters were articles published in magazines. Keeping in mind that the chapters are meant to be separate articles or stories, readers will not be looking for a sequence of happenings like in most books.
As someone who will probably never get to Alaska and has their own ideas about living off the land, this reader would have liked more personal stories of how Ravicz managed to build the home that he shared with his family. How did they actually survive all the years that they lived there? Does their experience mirror what is seen on certain television shows? Some of the stories that are shared are quite memorable and this reader will be thinking about them for a while.
Overall, “Land of Bear and Eagle” is a very personalized look at how one man and his family created a homestead on Kodiak Island, Alaska and actually fulfill the homestead regulations in order to be considered a successful homesteader. Ravicz seems to have a lot of stories about his homestead life and they seem to be as successful as he was in order to have his homestead.