At the Ends of the Earth: A History of the Polar Regions

At the Ends of the Earth: A History of the Polar Regions

by Kieran Mulvaney
     
 
<p>"The story of the Arctic and Antarctic is of two regions quite unlike any other.... It is a story of interweaving cycles in which exploration leads to exploitation, and exploitation to further exploration. It is a story of how even such remote realms can significantly affect, and in turn be deeply influenced by, events and trends thousands of miles distant-of

Overview

<p>"The story of the Arctic and Antarctic is of two regions quite unlike any other.... It is a story of interweaving cycles in which exploration leads to exploitation, and exploitation to further exploration. It is a story of how even such remote realms can significantly affect, and in turn be deeply influenced by, events and trends thousands of miles distant-of how the long shadow of humanity has extended, for better and for worse, to the very ends of the Earth." - from the Prologu.<p>For thousands of years, the polar regions have been a source of intrigue and fascination; even today-despite having been thoroughly mapped and explored, despite being home to permanent human settlements and scientific stations-they remain places of mystery. Remote, cold, barren, and inhospitable, they nonetheless exert an undeniable hold on the human imagination.<p>At the Ends of the Earth is an engrossing natural and human history of the two polar regions. In vivid and engaging prose, author Kieran Mulvaney presents the fascinating story of human interactions with the Arctic and Antarctic from prehistory through centuries of European exploration to more recent issues involving Cold War politics, oil and gas drilling, tourism, and global warming.<p>Beginning with the earliest myths and legends of undiscovered lands far to the north and south, Mulvaney offers an in-depth look at these two regions that are so similar yet so distinct. His compelling narrative brings to life the Arctic and Antarctic landscapes as well as the people who have explored, lived in, and exploited them. Stories of native Arctic peoples and the changes brought by the arrival of Europeans are contrasted with equally striking stories of Antarctic exploration and high-stakes battles over whether that vast continent should be exploited or protected.<p>Throughout, the author highlights both the direct and indirect impacts of human activity on polar landscapes, considering the ways in which these fragile and pristine environments represent a kind of miner's canary alerting us to the potentially irreparable changes we are wreaking on our global environment. At the Ends of the Earth offers a unique look at an intriguing facet of world history and provides an important context for understanding both successful and failed polar expeditions, as well as the motivations behind them.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
Mulvaney, who has published work in E and New Scientist, is a strong environmentalist and supporter of Greenpeace and marine mammal conservation. Tracing the history of the polar regions from prehistory through European exploration to today's oil and gas drilling, his readable book is "the story of two regions that are quite unlike any other but that are almost as different from each other as each is from the rest of the world." The text is fairly balanced between Arctic and Antarctic, with about one-fourth of the book focusing on whaling and sealing and one-third on policy issues, including the effects of tourism, pollution, and global warming. Mulvaney has done his homework, having spent time in each polar region, and his concern for these environments is clear in every chapter. His bibliography notes both historical and current sources, but his selections, e.g., Richard Ellis's Men and Whales (LJ 10/15/91) and David Boeri's People of the Ice Whale (LJ 3/1/84), are accessible. Recommended for public libraries. Jean E. Crampon, Science & Engineering Lib., Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Popular environmental writer and activist Mulvaney combines accounts by natives of the far north with expedition reports and debates over whether the ice realms should be exploited and if so how and by whom. He himself has led three expeditions to Antarctica. A few maps are the only illustrations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781559639088
Publisher:
Island Press
Publication date:
04/28/2001
Edition description:
1
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.27(h) x 1.00(d)

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