Tom Kizzia poses with a stack of his book, "Cold Mountain Path," on Sept. 1, 2021. (Photo provided)

Tom Kizzia poses with a stack of his book, "Cold Mountain Path," on Sept. 1, 2021. (Photo provided)

Homer author named historian of the year

Kizzia has a long history in the state

The Alaska Historical Society on Saturday honored Alaska journalist and author Tom Kizzia by naming him the James H. Drucker Historian of the Year Award.

Kizzia has a long history in the state, including 25 years as a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He also wrote for the Homer News, and had work published in The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and more.

In a press release, AHS says the honor was given to Kizzia both in recognition for his “long career documenting Alaska history,” and for his recent book, “Cold Mountain Path.”

AHS says in the release that “through lyrical writing and solid historical research, the book tells the story of McCarthy, one of Alaska’s boom towns gone bust in the mid-20th century.”

The Homer News reported in November that the book was borne from research Kizzia did for his previous book, 2013’s “Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier.” Details about murders in McCarthy didn’t fit in that work, and Kizzia completed further years of research to complete “Cold Mountain Path.”

The book spans 45 years in McCarthy, from the closure of the Kennecott copper mine in 1938 until a serial killing in 1983 — one that brought Kizzia to the town as a reporter from ADN at the time.

The release says that AHS was also impressed that Kizzia directed some of the proceeds from the book’s sales to the McCarthy-Kennecott Historical Museum.

More information about Kizzia and his books can be found at

Reach reporter Jake Dye at

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