Ultima Thule: Explorers and Native in the Polar North

Overview

An illustrated history of 170 years of Arctic exploration and its effects on indigenous peoples.Ultima Thule is the terrible and yet fantastic story of European and American exploration in the polar north. Based on excerpts from the explorers' logs counterbalanced by Inuit testimony, it brings to life both sides of the clash that arose when white men arrived in the Far North, dreaming of conquest and believing that they brought with them a civilization superior to that of the indigenous peoples they found. Today,...

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Overview

An illustrated history of 170 years of Arctic exploration and its effects on indigenous peoples.Ultima Thule is the terrible and yet fantastic story of European and American exploration in the polar north. Based on excerpts from the explorers' logs counterbalanced by Inuit testimony, it brings to life both sides of the clash that arose when white men arrived in the Far North, dreaming of conquest and believing that they brought with them a civilization superior to that of the indigenous peoples they found. Today, the outlook for the Inuit and the polar environment is bleak: the people and their landscape are in danger of disappearing for good. But according to Jean Malaurie, the situation is not altogether without hope.
Heavily illustrated with period photographs, engravings, artifacts, and drawings, the book gives the readers the impression of having an entire museum of North Pole history in their hands.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Striving to be the ultimate coffee-table book on the Arctic; its white explorers; and the Inuits, the northernmost native people on Earth, this work succeeds grandly. With its breathtaking illustrations, extensive sidebars (largely diary entries, historical documents and ethnographic material) and a condensed history of Arctic exploration and Inuit life, it's hard to imagine anything better. It's also hard to imagine anything bigger (10" x 14"), heavier (over six pounds) or more expensive ($75), a perfect example of what CD-ROMs were supposed to replace. French explorer and geographer Malaurie became an ethnographer of the Inuit people after his extended stay in the early 1950s, where he witnessed and then exposed the establishment of a secret American nuclear base in the Inuit capital of Thule, which devastated the tiny native population. Here, he traces the history of despoliation, beginning with the first Arctic explorer to encounter the Inuit (Captain Ross in 1818) and ending with himself and the revival of Inuit life. Each chapter in between is devoted to Arctic explorers and their expeditions in chronological order. Malaurie's version of anthropology reverses the roles of savage and civilized, and his historical accounts of Arctic expeditions' murder, mutiny and mysticism are always fascinatingly told in surprisingly clear and comprehensible prose. Period photographs, engravings, artifacts, maps and drawings help demystify the unknown Arctic. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Polar explorer Malaurie has written extensively on the North Pole, previously authoring Call of the North and the best-selling The Last Kings of Thule. Here he provides further understanding of explorations in the northern environment and the role of the Inuit people over the centuries. Using extensive research, he profiles such notable explorers as John Ross, Sir John Franklin, and Elisha Kent Kane, as well as the more recent journeys of Knud Rasmussen, Ernest Shackleton, and his own. Through this venue, Malaurie delves into a wide range of topics, including anthropology, history, and the environment, relying heavily on supporting materials. Readers are transported into the past and left with newfound insight into the world of polar exploration. The visual component of the book is equally rewarding as some brilliant photography is scattered throughout. Recommended for any library and well worth the financial outlay.-Jo-Anne Mary Benson, Osgoode, Ont. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393051506
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/1/2003
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 996,738
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 13.70 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean Malaurie, an Arctic explorer since the age of twenty-six, spent a year sharing the daily life of the Inuit in 1950. Today he lives in Paris and is the author of several books on the polar regions.

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Table of Contents

History of the Exploration of Northwest Greenland 4
Introduction 6
Captain John Ross 20
Sir John Franklin 48
Captain Edward Augustus Inglefield 51
Erasmus York 58
The Upernaallit 60
Elisha Kent Kane 74
Isaac Israel Hayes 94
The Last Migration of the Inuit 106
Charles Francis Hall 110
George Strong Nares 128
Hans Hendrik 140
Baron Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskjold 153
Lieutenant Adolphus Washington Greely 154
Admiral Robert Edwin Peary 174
Third Metamorphosis of the Inuit 214
Dr. Frederick Albert Cook 220
Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen 242
Knud Rasmussen 254
Peter Freuchen 286
Lauge Koch 302
Lord Edward Shackleton 314
Erik Holtved 322
Jean Malaurie 332
The Fantasy World of the Inuit 370
Epilogue: Thule 2000 374
Chronology of the Polar Eskimos, 1616-2000 394
Index 397
Glossary 398
Bibliography 399
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