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Item #: PL283A-293
ARCTIC DREAMS IMAGINATION AND DESIRE IN A NORTHERN LANDSCAPE Barry Lopez Paperback Near Fine
By Lopez, Barry
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New York, 1986. 464 pp, maps, index. Used paperback. Near Fine.

Based on fifteen 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 Award in 1986 when it was first published. From 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 archaeologists, 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. 

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