by Jo, May 25, 2005 12:38 PM
"Barry Lopez won the 1986 National Book Award for Arctic Dreams. A more accurate test, though, for the true quality of a book is how well it wears over time. And though it may yet be too soon to conclude, Arctic Dreams appears to have taken its place as the classic work on the wild regions of the far north. To write this book, Lopez made a number of extended trips to northern Canada to observe the flora and fauna of the region -- polar bears, killer whales, caribou, narwhals -- as well as the spectacular Arctic landscape -- eerie encounters with the aurora borealis, massive migrating icebergs, etc. His descriptions not only bring the reader as close as a book can to a palpable experience of the landscape, but also to a sense of why this region is so important, not only for the ecological health of the planet, but also for the imaginative health of humankind. His evocation of the way of life of the indigenous Arctic peoples is particularly moving, illustrating how human beings are capable of living in harmony with their environment, are capable of creating honorable societies. This is a very important book by one of our greatest writers, one that will only grow in importance as we continue to encroach upon and exploit the few remaining wild areas on our planet."