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"Mrs. Gaede Penner may be the best writer of personal experience tales in Alaska today. Her family experienced life and adventure throughout the Territory and State, over widely spaced distances for six decades. Her Prescription for Adventure series is excellent; always good humored, always honest, with abundant detail, fact and critical thinking. Gaede-Penner tells her stories in her subjects' voices, and seems to succeed in making them sound authentic. I can't recommend any series more highly!"
"I recommended your book to my friends of Mennonite background. I knew they would enjoy the emphasis on missions and the strong cultural ties that give the book a warm feeling of s ecurity even in times of transition. Because you include so many details of daily life, and how tasks were accomplished in a different era, your book reads like an Alaskan Little House on the Prairie. I thoroughly enjoyed your appealing presentation of family togetherness, admiration for the skills of parents, and the helpfulness of neighbors. The many real-life positive role models are valuable to both young and adult readers. Your stories evoked my own amusing memories: common toys, tiny wild animals we caught, the pleasure of crunchy snow, participating in school programs, favorite foods packed in our lunch boxes, and how our mothers were able to decorate homes on a shoestring.."
"You wrote an excellent adventure story with Bush Pilot Doctor. Even though your Dad told you the stories, you still had to create the atmosphere of suspense. I could visualize your Dad's aircraft sliding side-ways across the icy lake toward the shore, the landing in the trees that were higher than expected, and the flight through the pass where he couldn't see where he was going with high mountains on each side. Please let me know when you ever have another like this one."
"To understand how one man sought to ameliorate the harm resulting from the collision with Russian and American expansion, Gaede provides us with a personal boots-on-the-ground perspective on the peculiar challenges of delivering health care to rural Alaska during the tumultuous years around statehood."
"As I read both books, I kept thinking about how different, yet similar, Alaska is today. While we have made great technological advances since the 1950s and 1960s, Alaska is still not for the faint of heart. Due to geography and weather, conveniences can be scarce. The connections to the past, coupled with attitudes of ingenuity and optimism, give the reader of these two books a sense of adventure and inspiration to head north to Alaska."
"Anna was quite a woman. I appreciated the way you made her faith shine through without dwelling on religion. She was obviously a gifted teacher who put her heart and life into her job. Wish we had more of those teachers today. I enjoyed the cameo appearances of you and your family. I loved the remark you made about your Mom's picnic solution for both discouragements and celebrations. That one remark put your Mom's personality in a nutshell and once again brought out my admiration for who she was. More than a few times, I laughed out loud at the way you phrased things."
"This is a mesmerizing, compelling book that kept me entertained and anticipating throughout...it is a picture into the Alaska of early statehood...a fantastic armchair adventure..."
"Dr. Elmer E. Gaede certainly took risks and surely was rewarded with adventure in his long Alaska medical practice and aviation. This book recounts many incidents of Public Health Service and private medical practice, big game hunts, homesteading, friendship and family life, as well as two spectacular walk-away airplane crashes and a long, cold walk along the Bering Sea. This book is full of excitement, humor, and at times, pathos."
"This book is Gaede-Penner's most personal book, and written in her own voice. Like the other three volumes in her series, Kansas Wheat Fields is excellent. It combines both fact and adventure, but there is also an undercurrent of ambivalence working itself out as wisdom. Anyone would probably enjoy this story and many might profit from it."
"This book chronicles the early Alaskan career of Anna Bortel Church, one of the unsung heroes of Alaskan living. It covers her experience in Valdez and especially Tanana. Gaede-Penner tells the story with humor and in detail. It's biographical writing at its best and the style is very good. "
"We come to Alaska for different reasons — job, love, adventure, a new start — because we're born here. We stay because we find what we're looking for — adventure, love, work, joy — in short, home. "Home" as a concept is intangible. It's a sense of fitting in, a feeling rather than a structure of wood and shingles. The Gaede family had many structures they called a home, but it took the hard work and sweat equity of the homestead, the finding of their place in the family, the town, and the world, before they found home...Belonging is the theme of Naomi Gaede-Penner's second book in her Prescription for Adventure series...It takes a look at the Alaska adventures of the Gaede clan from the point of view of Ruby Gaede, Mrs. Bush Pilot, and the kids: Naomi, Ruth, Mishal, and Mark."
"Until I read your book, it didn't occur to me that non-military families could, and would, move as much as you did in the early years...In one of the chapters you described ordering clothes and shoes. I chuckled to think back on the Sear-Roebuck catalog days. I even had the same shoes you wore in one of your pictures...You definitely have the gift of storytelling. I didn't feel like I was just reading the book. I felt like I was living your childhood through your eyes. I like the way you updated us with how things are now with you and your siblings...I look forward to reading about your mother."
"I have finished both books — excellent! I enjoyed Bush Pilot Doctor because I knew many of the people, places, and the practice of bush medicine. I read it without stopping — anticipating the next whiteout. In your writing, the Mennonite, German, male, and physician personality come through very clearly — without feeling, straight forward, just the facts.
Finding Home in Alaska had so much more feeling and as the reader, I became more emotionally involved. As a physician father, I saw too many similar short comings. Thanks to your mom, she bridged the gap of the absent father. Unlike the first book, I read Finding Home with tears. By the way, I drove by the old Leppke homestead last week just to say I found it. It was only about 12 miles from my home."
"I couldn't put your book down, but read it from start to finish! I liked the footnotes that added details, and the flashbacks between Alaska and Kansas. The contrast was fascinating. I'd visited Alaska so could imagine some of the geography, and I'd grown up in Kansas so identified with your family roots back there."
"I just finished reading your book and enjoyed it very much. I am 72 years old and have NEVER before finished a book! My wife may have to frame yours in a shadow box! We just returned from visiting Alaska and had planned to go to Katmai and Brooks Lodge, which you wrote about in chapter 28, but the trip was canceled due to the volcano eruption. I have Microsoft Flight Simulator program and am experiencing some of the flights your dad took in the same type of aircraft. My wife just ordered Prescription For Finding Home In Alaska. I am sure she will buy your next books when they come into print. "
"I bought your book at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum in Anchorage during our family vacation. I had another book in my hand, but saw the title of your book, Prescription for Adventure: Bush Pilot Doctor, which sounded more interesting. It was an excellent decision. I read it on the plane flights, in the evening in the motels, and finished it when I got home.
"I found it hard to get house work done when the book was so much more interesting! The pioneer spirit was everywhere; each chapter an exciting and spell bound adventure. The footnotes were a nice addition to give the reader an explanation of things, as well as, a little Alaskan history. The vivid description of those living in desolate areas of Alaska was awesome! You have left a wonderful legacy by writing these books and making them available to those of us who want to read Alaska adventures from the comfort of our arm chair.
"I was thrilled to see the list in the back of the book of your future books, which have yet to be published and that Finding Home in Alaska was available to order now. It has arrived. To heck with the housework!
"Again, thank you for all you have done to keep the history of the area alive; we use your book as a recruiting tool for physicians, board members, and donors. Such amazing stories!"
"The Denver blizzard was raging, so I grabbed your book and spent the next three days cozy beneath a blanket, in front of the fireplace, reading your it — from start to finish — I couldn't put it down! You have a wonderful story and I love the way you write with all the vivid descriptions. I felt like I had shared your Alaskan experience with you (and the weather outside helped, too.) I hope you keep writing!"
"Coming from both a physician and a pilot, I thought the book portrayed both endeavors very well. Moreover, as someone who just enjoys reading, I thought it was unbeatable. The book was full of adventure and great descriptions of exciting (and true) events. The writing style fit the topic and was pleasantly easy to read...I have shared the book with several friends"
"Thank you for sending us your newest book "Prescription for Finding Home in Alaska". I took it with me on a recent trip to Moldova and Poland. I intended to read it while waiting at airports and during the flights. While at the airport in Moldova, waiting for the plane to board to Budapest, I was intently reading about your life in the Cold House. Somehow, I was so focused on the book I missed the boarding call and repeated calls for "Mr. Smith". When I looked up and thought that it was strange that they had not started boarding yet I noticed my plane taking off! I had missed my flight! Oh well, after being interrogated by airport security and put in a holding area until the flight landed safely in Hungary, they let me go and I caught a flight the next day."
"The story/information about villages is fascinating. So many students know nothing about Alaska village life and culture; and these villages make up a big part of our state."
"Thank you for sharing wonderful family memories and tall tales. Take it from one who has experienced the silence of an engine out-of-fuel at 2500 feet, Doc really had courage! Flying a tube and fabric two seat J-3 Cub without radios in the ever-changing weather of Alaska brings the hairs up on the back of any pilot's neck. Your stories were so real and accurate down to the details. My flying buddies questioned that Doc flew his Cub, equipped with a constant speed prop solo, from the front seat. They said, 'You solo a cub from the back seat, and they all had wood fixed props.' Not so. My research proved they were wrong and Doc was right! There is a constant speed prop for a Cub, and solo from the front with skis and survival gear in the back is a must. Look at the front cover!"
"Enough of planes, being a daddy, doctor, dentist, and vet, not to mention a fierce big game hunter, add to the drama. I will yield the big game hunting reviews to my brother-in-law who, like Doc, has stared down a 1,400 pound bull moose pounding its way towards him from across the river. And, I will yield review of the numerous medical emergencies, met with only the supplies Doc could carry-in on his back or improvise, to my son, a US Navy Lieutenant and Flight Surgeon."
"Twice through; the book is a fun and informative read! Thank you Naomi!"
"Naomi, I enjoyed your book to the utmost. I've read several Alaskan flying/adventure books over the years and have enjoyed none of them as much as this one. Your dad sounds like my kinda guy. Wish I could have known him. Having spent some time in AK, I enjoyed following on the map the path of your Dad's adventures. And you did such an excellent job of setting the scene for each story. You truly have a gift for storytelling. Let me know when the next book is ready."
"This is one of those 'page turner' books for me. I love adventures and words well put together! So much of the Kansas sections are my story too, and your Grandma Leppke had a role in my life, too. She was 'de tante mit de chickie'. (The auntie with the little fuzzy chickie.)"
"Even though you had access to your parents' letters, you did an amazing recall of how life was in Alaska 40-some years ago. You have an outstanding ability to use colorful and picturesque words, and you made almost everything appear as though it was 'present-day.'"
"After a rough day, I reward myself with your book. I crawl into bed, push aside the day's events, and lose myself in your easy-to-read, heart-warming stories. Your book is good therapy!"
"Many people romanticize the pioneer days of our country — the era of stagecoaches, of rugged individualism, of a time when any man could pursue a life-changing dream if he were willing to work hard. Perhaps you have looked back on those times with a mixture of awe and envy, and wondered if you could have succeeded as a pioneer. Doc Gaede is a man of recent times who lived that dream, albeit with a car and a plane. Join the Gaede family and pioneer with them as they become homesteaders in the wilds of Alaska."
"I enjoyed your book immensely! Your father's and your family's life sounded very demanding but certainly exceptionally satisfying. I'll be passing this book on to the rest of the staff so they too can enjoy it."
"I took your book to the lake near our house, sat on a bench, and started reading. I finally stopped when the sun went down and it was too dark. The Kansas portions flooded me with childhood memories of my own, almost a forgotten time of my life. Interesting how those things come back when someone else's stories touch on your own."
"It is wonderful that your father's adventures were captured, so they can be relived by those of us who never had the opportunity to experience the unspoiled wilderness that was the Alaska of nearly 50 years ago. ...he not only loved Alaska, but gave so much of himself to its Native people and to the State."
"I read parts of your book to my mom and dad. It made mom feel good to be included in your history-stories of early Soldotna. Most of the accolades come to dad, since he was one of the first physicians on the Kenai Peninsula. You have honored our family well, by adding them to the stories about your family. Thank you."
"Best Quote: My favorite quote would have been 'Hey Doc!' Whenever this quote is said, a prescription for adventure is on the way for Elmer. 'Hey Doc!' can be said by a kid, patient, friend, family member, pilot, or anyone else. Doc always has an urge for adventure . . .what would a book be without addressing an adventure?"
"Best Character: . . .Elmer is a pilot, dentist, veterinarian, father, husband, and friend. He travels to Alaska to help others with their medical needs, but also to learn more and travel the territory of Alaska. Doc Gaede has what it takes to deliver a baby during an earthquake, but also to remove a fishing hook inside a pet monkey's throat. This amazing man is my favorite character because he has a passion to help the Alaskan people and to cure his true Alaskan fever."
"I browsed through your book and liked the photos, sketches, and maps you included. I admire your writing ability, your gift with words, and enjoyed 'being invited into your family' through your writing—actually considered it privilege. I look forward to settling in front of the fireplace with a cup of cocoa and your book."
"Bush teachers' stories are valuable sources of detailed information about small communities and otherwise unknown individuals who contributed to Alaskan life. The sense of what is was like to live in an isolated community without access to industry and commerce comes through. You can sense some of the issues and pathos as two cultures draw closer. What comes through powerfully is the humanity and individuality of Anaktuvuk's people and those with whom they come in contact. The book is well worth reading."