Arctic Dreams Paperback – Oct 2 2001
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Based on 15 extended trips to the Canadian far north over a five-year period, Arctic Dreams celebrates the mysteries of what documentarians fondly call "last frontiers." Such places are everywhere in danger of destruction in the interest of ever-elusive economic progress, but Lopez writes no jeremiads. Instead, he aims to foster a kind of learned understanding of wild places, in this case the vast, scarcely knowable northern landscape. Writing of the natural history of the Arctic and its inhabitants--narwhals, polar bears, beluga whales, musk oxen, and caribou among them--Lopez draws powerful lessons from the land and imparts them assuredly and gracefully. Arctic Dreams deservedly won a National Book Award in 1986 when it was first published. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
This is one of the finest books ever written about the Far North, warmly appreciative and understanding of the natural forces that shape life in an austere landscape. The prize-winning author (Of Wolves and Men spent four years in Arctic regions: traveling between Davis Strait in the east and Bering Strait in the west, hunting with Eskimos and accompanying archeologists, biologists and geologists in the field. Lopez became enthralled by the power of the Arctic, a power he observes derives from "the tension between its beauty and its capacity to take life." This is a story of light, darkness and ice; of animal migrations and Eskimos; of the specter of development and the cultural perception of a region. Examining the literature of 19th century exploration, Lopez finds a disassociation from the actual landscape; explorers have tended to see the Arctic as an adversary. Peary and Stefansson left as a troubling legacy the attitude that the landscape could be labeled, then manipulated. Today, he contends, an imaginative, emotional approach to the Arctic is as important as a rational, scientific one. Lopez has written a wonderful, compelling defense of the Arctic wilderness. Illustrations. BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
That's what this book does for you. It puts you there.
I had mixed feelings aout his attiude towards the Eskimos. His account idealizes the nomadic hunting existence and it is sometimes unclear whether he is talking about present-day Inuit or drawing upon older accounts. He only once mentions alcohol as a problem and does not mention disputes with other native Americans, even when desribing Hearne's travels.
The description is largely limited to America and the bibliography has no Russian sources. He often uses Inuit words but his review of Arctic prehistory draws only on archeological evidence and is weak on linguistics and says nothing about the Chukchi language and Asian-American language links. DNA and blood groups are not mentioned.
I wouldn't make all those niggling criticisms about what got left out if the book did not set itself a high standard of comprehensiveness. It's virtually a one volume encyclopedia of the Arctic full of fascinating facts, vivid firsthand accounts, and splendid writing.
By the way, one arctic question's been bugging me since I was ten years old (the teacher didn't know the answer then and Lopez doesn't have it). What time is it at the North Pole?
Mr. Lopez made a number of extended trips to Siberia, Greenland, and northern Canada, including Baffin Island, to observe the flora and fauna of the region - polar bears, killer whales, caribou, narwhals - as well as the spectacular Arctic landscape. He experienced eerie encounters with the aurora borealis, massive migrating icebergs, solar and lunar light, halos and coronas. And he experienced both the potential for catastrophic danger and the remarkable beauty that the Arctic land and sea offers. "Spring storms can sweep hundreds of thousands of helpless infant harp seals into the sea" - juxtaposed with, "A tiny flower blooms in a field of snow touched by the sun's benevolent light." Through Mr. Lopez' eyes the breathtaking experience of the Arctic landscape and the people who inhabit it become palpably real.Read more ›
My edition has no photos, which is appropriate as the verbal description is superb. If you read this book, keep the internet handy, to use search engines to find photos of the places he and things he writes about. It's like having a limitless dictionary to hand, and with subject matter as unfamiliar as this, it helps tremendously. One could say that the book was 25 years ahead of its time.
Most recent customer reviews
I'm not sure just where the desire comes in here unless it's to promote or develop the reader's desire to see the Arctic for her- himself, but the imagination is the reader's. Read morePublished on July 6 2002 by Sunnye Tiedemann
Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams is a fascinating, poetic trip through the Arctic landscape, its people and sturdy animals. I loved reading this book from the comfort of my armchair.Published on July 2 2002 by Barbara Spring
I have read numerous book on the Arctic, and this one, by far, is the worst. The reviews I'd read spoke of this sparking a love for the Arctic and inspiring them to learn more... Read morePublished on June 28 2002 by Rick
I hate cold weather. I love trees and sunshine. But this book destroyed me. I couldn't quit reading, and next thing I knew, I had a new love; I love the Arctic. Read morePublished on Nov. 7 2001 by Min Byong Chang
In the book that first got me hooked on his writing, Barry Lopez writes, "I looked out over the Bering Sea and brought my hands folded to the breast of my parka and bowed from... Read morePublished on June 21 2001 by G. Merritt
A must for the reader who appreciates the beauty of a suttle landscape and the adaptations animals and people make to be at home in such a place. Read morePublished on June 16 2001
It's been some years ago now that I read Arctic Dreams. I found Lopez's writing powerful and gripping; I had to read more of his work and soon did. Read morePublished on April 21 2001 by Leland M. Searles
Barry Lopez probably does not think of himself as a salesman but his book, "Artic Dreams: Imagination & Desire in a Northern Landscape" sold me on the artic. Read morePublished on Dec 19 2000