Cold and isolated, yet home to some 4 million people; harsh and unyielding, yet receding dramatically every year: the Arctic is an area that defies definition. No landscape has stood out in the modern mind as so quintessentially timeless: imagined and described as a realm of crystalline purity, as a grey kingdom of frozen death, eternal and unchanging. Possessing a unique ecosystem, and home to some of the world's most robust peoples, the Arctic has both fascinated and unsettled outsiders throughout history. Today it stands at the epicentre of an unprecedented environmental crisis. Yet for all its renown the Arctic remains far from perfectly understood. In A History of the Arctic, award-winning polar historian John McCannon provides a far-reaching overview from the Stone Age to the present, examining all major aspects of this vital region from a global perspective. Covering the history of each Arctic nation, McCannon discusses many topics, including polar exploration and science, nation-building and diplomacy, environmental issues and climate change, and the role of indigenous populations in Arctic history.
With Arctic territorial claims and resource- extraction assuming ever greater importance in the twenty-first century, this book includes a timely assessment of current diplomatic and environmental realities, along with the increasingly dire risks the region is likely to face in the near future.