thereby raising it from the folklore level to, perhaps, a place on Alaskan history shelves. I guess only time will tell if I succeeded in that.

The crash, and my loss of friends in the accident, changed me in negative ways at first, ways that my youthful psyche was not capable of understanding. It was only later in life when my spiritual side began to express thankfulness for the life I’ve been allowed to live, that I fully recognized life, love, and friendship as the most important matters in life.

I want this website to express and extend those ideals. Life is full of hurts that we have to deal with. We can’t escape that. But we can control this little digital world—what comes into it and what goes out. Don’t get me wrong. I have strong political concerns, religious beliefs, moral convictions, and downright anger at certain societal issues. It’s just that I don’t want this site to be a sounding board for those things, except perhaps in a passive way. Maybe someday I’ll feel the need to start a site that will deal with some of that, but for now I’d like this one to be a refuge from that world, a site to offer tribute, to explore stories of survival, place, faith, love, history, family, friendship; a site to recommend good books, magazines, movies, DVDs, software, and photography—and more. And when we need to, we’ll offer comfort. But above all, let’s celebrate life!

Kesugi Ridge “The Ancient One,” is now within Denali State Park and has a pristine wilderness trail system (map). It also has great meaning for me aside from the traumatic experience of 1954, reminding me of life’s spiritual quest, a theme Touching the Ancient One explores. The book has had good reviews, has won an award, and was runner-up for another.

Here are some comments about TTAO:

C. H.—“THANKS, you allowed me to get a bigger taste of Alaska through your great story. God Bless You.”


C. M. —“Seldom read a book from cover to cover. The Ancient One is different. Every page triggers a need to respond, or ask something.”


R. V. —George C. Scott, playing the role of Gen. George Patton in the film, "Patton", while surveying through his powerful field glasses  the deployment of German General Rommel's tank corps in a North African desert scene exclaimed, "Rommel, you magnificent son of a bitch, I read your book." As I read YOUR book, that Rommel remark came to mind and I kept thinking, "Pratt, you magnificent story teller, I read your book."


G. O. —“Having a great time reading your splendid book—What a story!”


Reviewer: John Rowen–Schenectady Gazette (excerpts)

“Pratt, a retired Schenectady teacher, describes a disaster with the best of them.”


Reviewer: Poet & Author Joe Fabel – MWSA Review Board

“This is a story of courage as well as of respect.”


Reviewer: Bill McDonald – Author, President of the MWSA

“The glue that makes this story so interesting is the power of Pratt’s writing. He takes the reader with him through his words and memories and creates an exciting true tale; it is brilliantly done and conceived. This is truly one great book.”


D. P. – As a fellow author, I appreciate everything about the book, from its wonderful cover, to the layout, to the two segments (done just right that way), to the very appropriate photos. . . . You're a damned good writer . . . thank you for sharing this part of your soul with the nation.

Reviewer: Libby Martin – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

"Such is Pratt’s writing skill that even though you know – you KNOW – that only six men walk away from the downed craft, the reader hopes along with the author for the safety of all of them. Pratt has tapped deeply into 40-year-old memories, bringing the reader vividly close to the experience."


L. B. — “. . . it was a page turner. You are a good
writer . . . “


This came from a friend who received it from a friend who received it from a friend who had heard about the book at a military reunion:

“I wanted to let you know that I have just finished the book by Rupert Pratt, "Touching the Ancient One." That is a very good book and one of the best that I have
ever read. . . .”


Reviewer: David J. Pitkin (Chestertown, NY) Author of Ghosts of the Northeast and several other books:

“Pratt keeps the reader riveted first, with the immediate survival issues. Then comes the search for comrades who survived. Much later, arises the soul's need to make sense of it all . . . I had to allot a full day to the book that is both suspenseful and inspiring. The author's adventure is heightened by his truthfulness and clarity of writing. Well done!”


Greg McGarry— “. . . highly recommend it to all. . . . the reader gains a greater appreciation for his or her life and the bonds of love and friendship that none of us must ever take for granted.”

P. H— “I have thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Touching the Ancient One’. It is always meaningful to read about something that happened in my state, but I particularly applaud the way you gave meaning to and memorialized the lives of those who were lost. I still choke up even thinking about David West-Watson's remarks about his dad.”


Barb Harvey— “I finished your book and was enthralled with the details of the story. What you have written, will, no doubt, be remembered by all who read it. I have recommended it to everyone.”


E. K. —“Excellent, I don't know how you managed all those memories and information. Once started, I couldn't put it down. The 'Cliff [Hudson] stories' were a real hoot----especially the cow in the boat----laughed my butt off on that one.”

G. P. —“ . . . super job and very well done. . . . It was so interesting that I couldn’t put it down.  I finished it in two days.”


T. S. —“. . . a very good experience--even got me choked up a few times! . . . I was very impressed with your book.”


Ben Horton—“. . . have thoroughly enjoyed it.”


David Lee Thompson, Author of River of Memories: An Appalachian Boyhood—"Touching the Ancient One flows with the skill that comes only from a seasoned writer, and I shall not hesitate to read any book a second time that tugs at the tender spots of my heart as this one has managed to do. I am truly amazed at what Rupert has done with only twenty-six letters of the alphabet.”


Reviewer: Keith H. Betscher–Westchester, Ohio [Son of the pilot who died in the crash]—“Over the years, we as a group mounted plaques honoring the ten men who died on February 5th, 1954, arranged a metal for a hero who found some of the survivors that day and set the record straight for the history books.
   “Rupert, for all you have done to bring us together as a family, and for helping me achieve my dream, I thank you. Your story is our story, and it is a good story to tell.”


Touching the Ancient One: A True Story of Tragedy and Reunion can be purchased by clicking here.

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