Alaskan Odyssey

Reflections on Life, Politics, and Finding God in the Far North


M. Jane Hartman

Edited by R. J. Hartman

In the spring of 1948 a young Midwestern couple sold their small home in West Central Nebraska and moved to Alaska, abandoning jobs, friends, and two extended, tight-knit farming families for a life of uncertainty and isolation at the literal end of the world as they knew it. Alaskan Odyssey is the story of their move, and of the ensuing 25 years of joy, hardship, and tragedy, touchingly rendered by the youthful wife and mother, only 23 years old at the outset. Individual chapters resonate with unvarnished candor. Topics and tone comprise an emotion-laced spectrum spanning comic relief, wilderness adventure, personal adversity, political bewilderment, a 10,000 mile solo vagabond journey, and harrowing, life-altering drama, all viewed through the eyes of this charmingly insecure and delightfully naïve author. Every intellectually honest and self-aware reader will treasure her heartfelt reporting and appreciate the informal simplicity of her prose. The musings on Alaskan political divisions in the late 1960s are eerily and entertainingly prescient of the fractious political atmosphere in the USA today.

About the Author: Jane Hartman was, first and foremost, a doting mother and wife extraordinaire; a farm-girl turned Lady without peer who could, literally, craft a silk purse from a sow's ear. Following Alaskan Statehood, she was the recipient of the first statewide Mrs. Alaska award for her homemaking skills. In the Mrs. America contest held that year in Ft. Lauderdale, she was voted Mrs. Congeniality by the field of contestants. She aspired to become an accomplished writer, and published several entertaining articles for Alaskan-focused periodicals in the early 1970's, before being felled by a wildfire cancer in 1973 at the age of 48. Jane's central focus in the two years preceding her untimely death was a book-length memoir. The draft manuscript of that memoir, lost for nearly 45 years, was discovered by chance in 2016, enabling at long last the liberation of her story from its dusty, unintended hideaway.

About the Editor: Richard Hartman, Jane's eldest son, is a physicist, lifelong science addict, and exercise junkie. A chain of random events redirected his professional career into marine engineering software development, and the dynamical analysis of floating offshore structures. Sadly, editorial experience does not appear on his résumé.

Like to know more?

See the Editorial Preface here (pdf), or here (html).

See the Front & Back Covers here (pdf).

Available on Amazon in paperback, or Kindle editions.

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