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An Arctophile evokes a dazzling sense of place as he celebrates the region's landscape, wildlife, and people. (Ja 1 86)
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The themes of this book are as vast as the landscape it encompasses. Having lived in the Arctic for long periods of time, Lopez authoritatively conveys an enormous breadth and variety of knowledge, including Arctic exploration, geography, weather, animal migration, and behavior. His portraits of animalsmuskox, polar bear, narwhale, and othersreflect a sensitive melding of facts and mystery. The work is suffused with philosophical and lyrical strains. Through the centuries the Arctic landscape has woven a ``legacy of desire'' in many a mind and heart, shaping imagination and knowledge. For Lopez, how the Arctic is comprehended will determine its fate. Whether its land, peoples, and animals are honored or vitiated will depend upon the working out of this metaphorical analogy between mind and landscape. Highly recommended for most collections. Carol J. Lichtenberg, Washington State Univ. Lib., Pullman (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
A book as large as the Arctic North that it documents and describes so vividly. What compels the reader to enter this frozen world of the far north is Lopez's beautiful prose style and the breadth and strength of his understanding. He lavishes attention on and achieves precise expression of this world-the vegetal diet of the muskoxen, the color, texture, and function of hair on the polar bear, the precious solar light on the imagination. In his direct and sensitive style fact and truth become one in understanding. It becomes a necessary book, a story of man and animal, land and light, movement and survival, ultimately human understanding. Although the reader will recall a book like Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki (1950) or Lopez's Of Wolves and Men (1979), deeper comparisons are with the writings of Thoreau and John Muir. ``This is an environment marked by natural catastrophe, an inherently vulnerable ecosystem,'' writes Lopez, but this book is no impassioned appeal to ``save the land''; rather, it is an appreciation of the resiliency of life's network in the extremes. In turn it gives a saner perspective on our own lives. There are excellent maps throughout and an extensive appendix of maps and terminology. One only wishes for photographs of the animals and Eskimos one comes to live with in the book. Lopez's approach is simply to listen close and deep to the story this land is telling us. In his fiction and nonfiction Lopez has become a bold, clear voice in American writing. Highly recommended to all libraries.-L. Smith, Bowling Green State University Firelands College
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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. (March 11) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved