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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 ratings (36,110)

  • Stephanie R.

    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. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Tabatha J.

    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. ♡♡♡♡

  • Desiree C.

    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 ♥️!

  • Kassie D.

    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

  • Brittany P.

    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