Kaniut, Larry (LeRoy) 1942-

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KANIUT, Larry (LeRoy) 1942-

PERSONAL: Born January 9, 1942, in Deer Park, WA; son of Lawrence (a truck driver) and Vivian Lenore (a homemaker; maiden name, Kralman) Kaniut; married Pamela Diane Timmons (a homemaker), August 28, 1964; children: Ginger Diane, Jill Rose, Benjamin Chane. Education: Attended Warner Pacific College, 1960-62, and Portland State College (now University), 1962-63; Linfield College, B.A., 1965, M.Ed., 1966. Religion: Protestant.

ADDRESSES: Office—2600 Huffman Rd., Anchorage, AK 99516. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: A. J. Dimond High School, Anchorage, AK, English teacher and athletic coach, beginning 1966. Summer employee of Alaska Department of Fish and Game; worked as house-builder and commercial fisherman.

WRITINGS:

nonfiction

Alaska Bear Tales, Alaska Northwest Publishing (Anchorage, AK), 1983, reprinted, 2003.

More Alaska Bear Tales, Alaska Northwest Books (Anchorage, AK), 1989.

Cheating Death: Amazing Survival Stories from Alaska, Epicenter Press (Fairbanks, AK), 1994.

Some Bears Kill: True Life Tales of Terror, Safari Press (Long Beach, CA), 1997.

Danger Stalks the Land: Alaskan Tales of Death and Survival, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

(Author of preface) Evan Swenson, One Last Cast: From Alaska Outdoors Radio Magazine, Publication Consultants (Anchorage, AK), 2000.

Bear Tales for the Ages: From Alaska and Beyond, Paper Talk (Anchorage, AK), 2001.

Contributor of stories to Outdoor Life, Outdoor America, Anchorage Times, and Alaska.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Alaska's Fun Bears.

SIDELIGHTS: Larry Kaniut has written several bestselling books on exciting, real-life adventures in the wilds of Alaska. Telling the stories of people who survived bear attacks, plane crashes, avalanches, and mountain-climbing accidents, Kaniut's books have proven popular with those readers who enjoy the outdoors.

In Cheating Death: Amazing Survival Stories from Alaska, Kaniut gathers eighteen stories of individuals who faced death in the Alaskan wilderness, including one person who survived a small-plane crash in the mountains. Norman Goldman, in an online review for Boots 'n' All, found that Kaniut's book "is written in a style that provides the reader with vivid pictures of the actual near-death happenings." Danger Stalks the Land: Alaskan Tales of Death and Survival presents tales drawn not only from contemporary sources but from older accounts as well. One story concerns Billy Mitchell, later known for his Army court martial, who fell through the ice while dogsledding in Alaska. Another story deals with a fisherman who became mired in tidal mudflats; despite rescue efforts, including the use of a helicopter, the man eventually drowned when the tide moved back in and covered him. Writing in School Library Journal, Judy McAloon called Kaniut "a good storyteller" whose book offers "harrowing true-life, people-against-the-elements tales."

Kaniut once told CA: "Beginning with my personal conversion to Christianity in 1957, my life turned around. I began to view life as worth living to its fullest and to center my decisions on the question, 'What would Jesus do?' Because of my desire to serve God by following the teachings of his son, Jesus Christ, many doors have opened.

"My wife, Pam, and I share the belief that God is a personal god whose love for man prompted him to send Jesus to redeem man, who had made a mess of things since Adam and Eve's time. This belief has allowed us to pray for God's will in our lives. As a direct answer to prayer we moved to Alaska to teach English in 1966, and we will remain until we feel God leading us to leave.

"As a result of teaching literature of the North, I wished to edit a book of Alaskan adventures, and in 1969 began to contact publishers, asking if they would be interested in such a book. In 1973 I approached Alaska Northwest Publishing Company with this query, which other publishers had rejected. Alaska Northwest responded likewise but felt that I 'had a feel for' their work and asked me to do a bear book. I told them that I wasn't qualified but would give it a shot. As Alaska Bear Tales developed, I wanted to educate and entertain the reader, hopefully with advice on practical solutions in the case of a bear run-in. As a compilation, most of the book summarizes experiences of those encountering bears. Some of my views and values are also reflected (i.e., treat bears with respect, be prepared, don't give up, give God his due credit).

"My desire to write teen novels is to encourage them to fulfill their potential—to be themselves to the fullest, not someone else. I also wish to speak to parents, encouraging them to love their kids, to hug them and say 'I love you.' I want kids to know that they 'count,' one and all, and that they are unique. I also want kids to know that the acceptance and security that they seek will come only through the commitment of their souls to the one who created them, and that through Jesus the Christ they can fulfill their potential."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

periodicals

American West, January-February, 1984, review of Alaska Bear Tales, p. 54.

Publishers Weekly, November 18, 1983, "Alaska Publisher Has Winner in Bear Book," p. 55.

School Library Journal, June, 2000, Judy McAloon, review of Danger Stalks the Land: Alaskan Tales of Death and Survival, p. 176.

online

Boots 'n' All, http://www.bootsnall.com/ (July, 2002), Norman Goldman, review of Cheating Death: Amazing Survival Stories from Alaska.

Larry Kaniut Web site, http://www.kaniut.com/ (November 13, 2003).*