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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Historical fiction

The Great Alone

Each year thousands of members vote for our Book of the Year award—congrats to The Great Alone!

by Kristin Hannah

Quick take

Following a shattering tour in the Vietnam War, Ernt Allbright attempts a fresh start by moving his family to Alaska, where they encounter old demons and new challenges on the last American frontier.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_WellKnownAuthor

    Famous author

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational



Alaska, 1974.

Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.

For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: He will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America's last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents' passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights' lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt's fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: They are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves. In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska—a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

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Member thoughts

All (23921)
All (23921)
Love (19202)
Like (4101)
Dislike (618)
24183 ratings
  • 79% Love
  • 17% Like
  • 3% Dislike
  • LeMars, IA

    This. Book. I haven’t cried while reading a book in forever but this one, oh man. The love, hurt, trauma, celebrations, fear, happiness, and sadness; you feel it all. Absolutely incredible. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Monticello, AR

    I have never felt closer to a character than I have with Lenora Allbright. Kristin Hannah has created a beautiful, complicated tapestry that makes the reader feel all of the loss, fear, and love. ♡♡♡♡

  • Somerset, PA

    I spent the week in Alaska while reading this book. I could almost feel the cold and hear the wind. The characters were some if the most “real” people that I’ve encountered in a book. Highly recommend

  • Colorado Springs, CO

    I’ve read this year’s book of the year winner and have been reading all of the runner ups. This one, in my opinion, should have been book of the year. So much raw emotion—a roller coaster. Loved it so

  • Scottsville, VA

    Pain, love and strength are three words that classify this book. I loved every moment of it and felt I could picture the Alaskan landscape on each of Leni and Matthews adventures. A book I could not putdown

  • Palmdale , CA

    I absolutely loved this book! It was my first time reading a book from Kristin Hannah and I couldn’t put it down. I fell in love with the characters and they will always have a special place in my ♥️!

  • Austin, TX

    Loved “The Great Alone”! Felt like I was in Alaska experiencing what it was like to live there in the 70’s! Torwards the end I couldn’t put it down...definitely keeps you at the edge or your seat!

  • Clifton Heights, PA

    This is the BEST book I’ve read in a long time. I finished it in three days. I could not put it down. I felt so connected to the characters, I cried, I audibly cried out. My fiancé thinks I’m nuts!

  • Santa Clarita, CA

    Loved this book! The beginning dragged and it was little slow for my taste, but a great book, overall. I enjoyed reading it and getting caught up in the story! As usual KH did not dissappoint!❤️❤️

  • Northford , CT

    I couldn’t love this book any more if I tried. Adventure, love, loss, belonging, forgiveness, tolerance, naivety, growth, bonding, wilderness, beauty. This novel has it all, and I am so sad it’s over.

  • Beaver, WV

    The first 200 pages dragged. I honestly thought people were crazy who said the book was good. Then,I literally didn’t want to put it down. I couldn’t get enough.I loved the story and it made me cry.

  • Louisville , KY

    One of the saddest books I’ve ever read. However our protagonist has one of the strongest characters I’ve ever read too. Some of these events will never happen to you, you’ll find it all relatable.

  • Freeville, NY

    OMG…this book! Captivating from start to finish. I stayed up entirely too late reading every night because I just couldn’t put it down. Amazing tribute to Alaska and the strong people who call it home

  • Matthews, NC

    It will make you fall in love w/ humanity all over again. From strength to struggles, hopelessness to loss & much ❤️ in between. I cried like a baby at the end. We all need a Large Marge in our life.

  • Chicago, IL

    Loved this book!! I felt so many emotions for these characters, it could of ended at the half way point but so glad it didn’t! Highly recommend reading this book even if it isn’t normally your type!

  • The Dalles , OR

    This is the first book I’ve read by Kristen Hannah, I will for sure be reading more!! It’s easily in my top 10 of all time. Pulled at my heart strings throughout, I loved so many of the characters!

  • APO, AP

    This book was gripping. At parts, I held my breath for fear of what was to come. I really enjoyed the characters and the developing relationships. It made this non-camper​ want to camp...sort of.

  • Westminster, CO

    Thought provoking. Made me pause and think deeply about physical and emotional abuse. What would you do if you didn’t have the means to leave? How would you protect your children? Sad yet uplifting...

  • St Louis, MO

    Broke my heart in two - IN TWO. But it was amazing. I know Kristin Hannah is going to do this to me every time, but I keep falling for it, and I’m about that life! Beautiful landscape descriptions.

  • Columbus, OH

    First book I have read by this author. Won’t be the last. Caught myself holding my breath, mad, frustrated, in love, smiling and crying right along with characters. Kuddos to those that live off grid.

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