Winner of the 1986 National Book Award.
Synopses & Reviews
The Arctic doesn't spring to mind when most people think about autumn. Yet in his continuing effort to invite readers' curiosity through unpredictability, Pete Dunne chose to pair the transitional season of autumn with this fragile environment in flux.
The book begins on Bylot Island in Nunavut, Canada, at the retreating edge of the seasonal ice sheet, then moves to Alaska, where the needs of molting geese go head to head with society's need for oil. Then on to the Barren Lands of Canada, and a search for the celebrated caribou herds that mean life and death for human and animal predators alike.
A canoe trip down the John River is filled with memories, laughter, and contemplation; a caribou hunt with a professional trapper leads to a polemic on hunting; and Pete travels to an island in the Bering Sea, off the coast of Alaska, to look for rare birds and ponder the passionate nature of competitive bird listers.
No trip to the Arctic would be complete without a trip to see polar bears, so Pete and his wife visit Churchill, Manitoba, the polar bear capital of the world. These majestic, but threatened, creatures lead Pete to think about his own life, our interactions with the natural world, and the importance of the Arctic, North America's last great wilderness.
"Jubilant....Barry Lopez lavishes his discoveries into a portfolio of delights."
The New York Times Book Review
"Wonderfully informed and evocative....Keen observation given shape with language that is deft and vivid." Chicago Tribune
"Rich, abundant, vigorously composed." The Boston Globe
"[It is the earth's] synchronous wealth of life of all life that Barry Lopez is celebrating in his jubilant new book. Among contemporary nature writers Mr. Lopez is especially a rhapsodist, and what he has done in this passionate paean to the Arctic and its cycles of light and darkness, its species of ice, its creatures and waters, is to present a whole series of raptures and riffs on the subject of musk oxen, ivory gulls, white foxes, polar bears, icebergs and sea currents....Part-rhapsody, part-history, it is a bifurcated book,and displays a magnificently nonchalant assurance at times (as when he says at one point that Eskimos are not 'errorless in the eyes of God'). As in a labor of love, he couldn't really let go of it; he has added a separate author's note, preface and prologue, and filled it with footnotes that swing among his memories and afterthoughts." New York Times Book Review
"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....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." Publishers Weekly
"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." Library Journal
Barry Lopez's National Book Award-winning classic study of the Far North is widely considered his masterpiece.
Lopez offers a thorough examination of this obscure world-its terrain, its wildlife, its history of Eskimo natives and intrepid explorers who have arrived on their icy shores. But what turns this marvelous work of natural history into a breathtaking study of profound originality is his unique meditation on how the landscape can shape our imagination, desires, and dreams. Its prose as hauntingly pure as the land it describes, Arctic Dreams is nothing less than an indelible classic of modern literature.
A season of transition in North Americaand#8217;s last great wilderness From Nunavut and the Barren Lands of Canada to the westernmost edge of Alaska and back to Churchill, Manitoba, Pete Dunneand#8217;s experiences in the Arctic comprise wilderness, laughter, and contemplation. Whether hunting caribou, examining the balance between the needs of molting geese and societyand#8217;s thirst for oil, or observing majestic but threatened polar bears, Dunne insightfully considers his own life, our interactions with the natural world, and the importance of the Arctic, the planetand#8217;s last frontier.
The thirdand#160;in a four-book series on humans' relationship to nature. and#160;
About the Author
Barry Lopez lives in western Oregon.
Table of Contents
and#160;and#160;Note to Readersand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;xi
and#160;1.and#160;Where Seasons Meetand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;1
and#160;2.and#160;Fourth of July Paradeand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;32
and#160;3.and#160;Oil and Feathers Donand#8217;t Mixand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;44
and#160;4.and#160;The Barren Landsand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;85
and#160;5.and#160;Bob and Lisa and Linda and Peteand#8217;s
Most Excellent Trip to the Johnand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;131
and#160;6.and#160;Men Without Buntingsand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;171
and#160;7.and#160;Hunting with Heimoand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;189
and#160;8.and#160;The Polar Bearand#8217;s Picnicand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;222