Of Bears and Ballots: An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics


Product Details

$25.95  $24.13
Algonquin Books
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.2 X 1.2 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

Heather Lende has contributed essays and commentary to NPR, the New York Times, and National Geographic Traveler, among other newspapers and magazines, and is a former contributing editor at Woman's Day. A columnist for the Alaska Dispatch News, she is the obituary writer for the Chilkat Valley News in Haines and the recipient of the Suzan Nightingale McKay Best Columnist Award from the Alaska Press Club. Her previous bestselling books are Find the Good, Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs, and If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name. Lende was voted Citizen of the Year, Haines Chamber of Commerce, in 2004. Her website is heatherlende.com.


"Written in her usual sprightly, witty, humble, effervescent style, this one will please [Lende's] fans."
--Kirkus Reviews

"A detailed and amiable chronicle of [Lende's] three-year term as assemblywoman in Haines Borough, Alaska . . . Lende successfully balances the dry facts of assembly reports with humorous character sketches and lyrical odes to the natural beauty of Alaska. The result is an honest and inspirational investigation into why 'it's easy to say what's wrong with government; it's harder to fix it, and progress can be very slow.'"
--Publishers Weekly

"Heather Lende has the voice of that friend down the street you love to chat with over coffee--the one who knows everything going on in town, but also knows the difference between gossip and storytelling."
--Tom Kizza, New York Times-bestselling author of Pilgrim's Wilderness and The Wake of the Unseen Object

"Heather Lende's brave, big-hearted book about her run for local office fairly bursts with affection for her place and its people. By the end you'll be torn between wanting to move to Haines, Alaska, and wanting Heather to take the helm of your hometown."
--Melody Warnick, author of This Is Where You Belong

"An uplifting reminder that democracy works in America. While its setting is an extraordinary landscape of mountains, glaciers and the waters of Lynn Canal, the political scene and the cast of characters Lende captures will find resonance in every corner of America."
--Bruce Botelho, former Mayor of Juneau, Alaska

"Citizenship--real, active citizenship of the kind we badly need--is hard work, as this book makes clear. But it's also rewarding in a profound way; hopefully this will inspire people to work with and for their neighbors in all kinds of ways!"
--Bill McKibben, author of Falter

"This book is a fine story--many beautifully-woven stories, in fact, told with compassion, wisdom and wit--about democracy, community and decency in small-town America, and how to save the best of who we are. It's medicine for the soul. I vote for Heather Lende."
--Kim Heacox, author of John Muir and the Ice that Started a Fire

"Heather Lende has captured the essence of small-town governing in a community as politically divided as our nation is today. She reminds us that public service is hard, but also meaningful."
--Fran Ulmer, former Lieutenant Governor of Alaska

"All politics is local, so it's said. If you haven't served on a local board or commission you haven't lived. If you have served and lived through it, Heather Lende feels your pain, and will have you laughing at hers. Sometimes a first rate writer also happens to be a first rate human being. I love when that happens."
--Tom Bodett, humorist (and former chair of the Selectboard of Dummerston, Vermont)