Land of the Radioactive Midnight Sun: A Cheechako's First Year in Alaska

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"A warm, bright book about our coldest, darkest state, this comic gem reminds us how very little separates the brave from the stupid."

- Camden Joy, author of Palm Tree 13 and The Last Rock Star Book

"Anyone curious about how public affairs figures in military missions and omissions should enjoy Lt. Flynn's insider perspectives on the brass running Eielson Air Force Base, damage control in the wake of high-altitude mishaps, and ...

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2003 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 309 p. Audience: General/trade. BOOK IS BRAND NEW

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Land of the Radioactive Midnight Sun: A Cheechako's First Year in Alaska

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Overview

Praise for Land of the Radioactive Midnight Sun:

"A warm, bright book about our coldest, darkest state, this comic gem reminds us how very little separates the brave from the stupid."

- Camden Joy, author of Palm Tree 13 and The Last Rock Star Book

"Anyone curious about how public affairs figures in military missions and omissions should enjoy Lt. Flynn's insider perspectives on the brass running Eielson Air Force Base, damage control in the wake of high-altitude mishaps, and war games terrorizing Arctic wildlife, not to mention the insights flowing from the cup of a bachelor-in-uniform contemplating Alaska's most elusive resource, women of the Last Frontier. Land of the Radioactive Midnight Sun is a hilarious romp through Interior Alaska and rates a medal for public disclosure, but the Air Force brass may lean toward a firing squad."

-Brian Patrick O'Donoghue, Alaska journalist, author of My Lead Dog was a Lesbian

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A warm, bright book about our coldest, darkest state, this comic gem reminds us how very little separates the brave from the stupid." —Camden Joy, author of Palm Tree 13 and The Last Rock Star Book

"Anyone curious about how public affairs figures in military missions and omissions should enjoy Lt. Flynn's insider perspectives on the brass running Eielson Air Force Base, damage control in the wake of high-altitude mishaps, and war games terrorizing Arctic wildlife, not to mention the insights flowing from the cup of a bachelor-in-uniform contemplating Alaska's most elusive resource, women of the Last Frontier. Land of the Radioactive Midnight Sun is a hilarious romp through Interior Alaska and rates a medal for public disclosure, but the Air Force brass may lean toward a firing squad." —Brian Patrick O'Donoghue, Alaska journalist, author of My Lead Dog was a Lesbian

Publishers Weekly
For one year in the late 1990s, Flynn was posted to Eileson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska, as a public affairs officer, one of the "desk weenies" assigned to put a good face on unpopular military activities, like environmentally hazardous combat flying exercises and radioactivity-fueled facilities on native lands. His personal goal was to transform himself from "cheechako," or greenhorn Lower 48-er, into a "real Alaskan." While he approached his duties spinning bad news for the military with seasoned skepticism-noting his lies in parentheses for the reader-the challenge of becoming a real Alaskan seemed to involve his manhood and was therefore more serious. Commenting on underdressed (for the weather) rugby players, he concludes, "they're all just afraid of being called a wimp. Any guy can appreciate that." He treats readers to several bloody and drunken rugby matches in 30-below weather, plus some attempts at dogsledding, salmon and halibut fishing, moose eating and gold panning. Flynn liberally seasons this virile menu with complaints about the difficult guy/gal ratio and more than a little finger-pointing at the gals who look like guys. Ultimately, Flynn decides being a real Alaskan is less about endurance and more about attitude (e.g., if you're freezing, go get a jacket or stop sitting in the snow). In the last pages, Flynn, like many of his "real Alaskan" friends, leaves Alaska for more urban settings-after all, as Flynn puts it, Manhattan's so much better at "pizza and women." (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Tired of hot and muggy Mississippi, Air Force Lieutenant Flynn thought cooler weather was just what he needed, so he asked for a transfer to Eileson Air Force Base outside of Fairbanks. What he didn't understand was that the citizens of Fairbanks equated "cool" with a temperature of -20 degrees Fahrenheit; true Alaskans didn't consider the weather to be really cold until the thermostat dipped below -40 Fahrenheit. This was only one of the things Flynn had to learn as an Alaskan "cheechako," or greenhorn. In this often funny, always candid account of his tour of duty in Alaska, Flynn tells what it's like to play rugby in shorts and a shirt on a frozen lake, how to escape a grizzly when all she wants to do is lick your face, and how to negotiate with Alaska's Native Americans when they and the air force square off in a battle of wills over a nuclear power plant. Nicely paced to hold the reader's interest, this first offering would make a fine addition to any travel collection.-Mary V. Welk, Chicago Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An Army public-affairs officer stumbles through a decidedly unglamorous first year in the frozen north. His knowledge of Alaska gleaned principally from episodes of Northern Exposure, Lieutenant Flynn, sweating on a base in Mississippi, requested a transfer to Eielson Air Force Base, 400 miles north of Anchorage. A short time later, the cheechako ("a tenderfoot, a greenhorn") arrived at his new home on a night when the temperature was 43 degrees below zero. His first weekend, playing rugby on a frozen river, he realized that distraction and denial were the ways to make it through the Alaskan winter. Taking to these strategies with gusto, Flynn amused himself by creating a monthly column for the military newspaper covering some of Alaskan life’s more striking aspects: the difficulty of really getting away from it all despite being surrounded by wilderness; the abysmal state of waste disposal; the Native American "Ear Pull" competition. Getting this column approved was a challenge; the Air Force was used to public-affairs officers pitching stories about survival school and plane crashes. (Flynn covered those too.) Alternating between pondering Alaskan and Air Force curiosities, the author displays a time-honored attitude toward military bureaucracy: good-natured grousing. He is quite amusing, for example, in such slice-of-life pieces as his account of working on an outdoor sign when it was 68 degrees below zero, a general consideration of the drudgery of base chores, and an analysis of the pecking order and mating habits of the officers (a mere flack, Flynn was completely eclipsed by the pilots). Equally compelling are his explanation of flying’s central importance to Alaska’s survival anda description of his first encounter with the local tribes. Surface glibness, and a boys’-club tone only slightly distract from a deeper insight and charm.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312285548
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/8/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.72 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Sean Michael Flynn was commissioned a Lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force in 1994. After a brief tour in Mississippi, he transferred to Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska where he began writing his fish-out-of-water column, Cheechako. He has since returned from Alaska and completed his tour with the Air Force. He lives in Tivoli, New York with his wife and son.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2014

    Respond f to arizona if u want to have nook sex

    Reply at searfh mouse result one
    Luv az; *

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2004

    Experience Alaska with Sean

    Are you Dying to go to Alaska...well come along with Sean. This witty and exciting book is an experience by itself. If you already have a trip planned you must read this before you venture out. You will learn the ins and outs before making silly mistakes that all Cheechako's do. Enjoy your trip with Sean, he will become your best friend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2004

    And then what...Don't leave us hanging.

    This book leaves you wanting to follow him through life. Hopefully he writes more. This is not only a must read, but an incredible gift. Whether you are a rugged hunter type or a white collar business tycoon this book is for you. Sean is a gift to all. Thank you Sean

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2003

    A great book! I got cold just reading it...!

    In the travel writing genre, I would reserve five stars for, say, Bill Bryson. However, for a new author, Mr. Flynn does an excellent job of providing me with a funny, insightful picture of life in Alaska. I know his book was great because it made me want to travel there and see what he relates so amusingly for myself--but in the summer!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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