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Cold Front: Conflict Ahead in Arctic Waters

Cold Front: Conflict Ahead in Arctic Waters

by David Fairhall

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The Arctic. Land of ice and the six-month day, irresistible goal for explorers and adventurers, enduring source of romance and mystery, and now also a poignant and unavoidable indicator of the impact of climate change.

As the ice cap shrinks, the geography of the entire Arctic region changes—clear shipping channels replace immovable ice and inaccessible oil


The Arctic. Land of ice and the six-month day, irresistible goal for explorers and adventurers, enduring source of romance and mystery, and now also a poignant and unavoidable indicator of the impact of climate change.

As the ice cap shrinks, the geography of the entire Arctic region changes—clear shipping channels replace immovable ice and inaccessible oil resources become available. What will be the long-term consequences of these cataclysmic changes, not only environmentally but also socially and politically? How will the lives of the many individuals who depend upon the natural resources of the Arctic be changed? And how will the global powers that wish to exploit the region’s many assets respond?

Cold Front is not just another attempt to predict the outcome of global warming. It offers a clear-sighted and penetrating investigation of the Arctic’s pivotal role in international relations, placing the polar region in its historical, political, and legal context. The thawing of the ice cap creates huge opportunities for trade and transport—and therefore also for conflict between Arctic nations. This beautifully written investigation provides insight, answers, and hope for the future of the region.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Due to recent acceleration in ice-cap melting, both of the Arctic Ocean's North-East and North-West passages briefly opened in August of 2008, bringing attention to the seldom discussed ramifications of climate change on international relations. With Greenland, Norway, Russia, Canada, and the U.S. all laying claim to waters surrounding the North Pole, Fairhall (The Guardian's Defense Correspondent during the Cold War) warns of the disputes regarding commercial rights and traffic through the Arctic Ocean. Examples of potential conflict abound, posing challenges to agreements like The Spitzbergen Treaty of 1920 and the UN convocation on the Law of the Sea, both of which attempted to establish who had access to undersea natural resources. Even foreign ships' rights of innocent passage have come under scrutiny, as the boundaries of territorial waters become more difficult to delineate. Fairhall's history section outlines periodic attempts to conquer these two passages and clarifies how important and difficult it will be to govern the Arctic region. Climate change is destructive enough in itself, but the political implications the author points out induce deep breaths in anticipation of a truly cold war. Agent: Anne Nicholson, I.B. Tauris (Dec.)EXILE ON WALL STREET: One Analyst's Fight to Save the Big Banks from ThemselvesMike Mayo. Wiley, $29.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-118-11546-6"The crisis didn't occur because of something that banks did. No, it was the natural consequence of the way banks are, even today." Financial analyst Mayo has had experience with many of the big names in banking, so it would seem prudent to heed this claim. In an attempt to shed light on what led to the financial crisis and how we can avoid another one, Mayo uses his life and career in the financial sector as a guide, beginning his account in the late 1980s with the S&L crisis and his years at the Federal Reserve. Later, he would work for UBS, Lehman Brothers, Credit Suisse, and Prudential, gaining a reputation for good work and tough, but accurate, calls. Mayo discusses the mortgage crisis and the unintended effects of subprime loans, the Lehman collapse, regulators, and the entire history of Citi, including its role in the 1929 stock market crash. Rather than simply calling foul, Mayo offers his vision for an improved version of capitalism with better systems of accounting and none of the "financial shenanigans" that have plagued the industry and weakened the economy. However, he still thinks someone should take the blame: "failure needs to carry consequences, and those consequences should be steep." Agent: David McCormick, McCormick & Williams (Nov.)GABBY: A Story of Courage and HopeGabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly, with Jeffrey Zaslow. Scribner, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4516-6106-4Astronaut Kelly's 2007 marriage to Arizona Congresswoman Giffords marked another milestone in lives dedicated to the betterment of the state of Arizona, the nation, and the space program. But when Giffords was shot in the head in early 2011, the couple's lives took a direction neither could've anticipated. Told by Kelly, this stirring account traces family stories, the logistics of living through a medical nightmare, and his simultaneous struggle to command his final space mission. Determined to focus on that command, yet driven by his desire to meet Giffords's needs, Kelly split care-giving duties with her mother, recalling that throughout the ordeal "my wife was relentless." Later, the painstaking procedures of cranial surgery are detailed, along with the slow, miraculous recovery that culminated in Giffords's trip to Washington, D.C. to vote on the debt ceiling bill. Other achievements and challenges during the year-particularly for Giffords's loyal staffers-are also duly noted. Giffords herself, in simple, coherent language, provides a final page about her ongoing recovery to conclude this picture of a victorious human spirit. (Nov.)* THE IMAGE OF THE BLACK IN WESTERN ART, VOLUME III: From the "Age of Discovery" to the Age of Abolition, Part 2: Europe and the World Beyond Edited by David Bindman and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Harvard/Belknap, $95 (496p) ISBN 978-0-674-05262-8Inspired to collect images of Africans and the diaspora during the height of the Civil Rights movement, Dominique Schlumberger de Menil and her husband John amassed over 30,000 images as an artistic and academic counter against racism. These images were sorted, studied, and grouped into a series of volumes originally published in the late 1970s and early 1980s; long out of print, they are now beautifully reproduced along with additional color plates and scholarly commentary. This edition focuses on the depictions of blacks during the 16th-18th centuries. Due to Eurocentric attitudes of the time, few works depict black individuals; rather, people of African descent were often studied at an anthropological level and commonly depicted as pages, slaves, or servants. Though the series has rightfully become embraced by academia, even armchair historians will find the book to be a feast of information and commentary. Digressions on the black Magus and the debate about the race of Madonna and Jesus are fascinating, but it is the breathtaking collection of artwork that makes the greatest impact. The rich and varied array, printed on high-quality paper, must be seen to be fully appreciated. (Nov.) 1,000 PLACES TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE: Second EditionPatricia Schultz. Workman, $32.95 (1216p) ISBN 978-0-7611-6337-4The original has formed the bucket list for hordes of eager travelers, and this updated guide will do exactly the same (but better). Schultz has added 200 new entries, hundreds of color photographs, and a great deal of new material that will whet readers' appetites for trips all over the globe. She does a decent job of striking a balance between offering high-end as well as budget travel options, and she covers destinations in creative ways, such as splitting the famed Irish capital into "Edible Dublin" and "Literary Dublin." For those with tight schedules, thoughtful delineations like these can transform a hectic day of sightseeing into a veritable curated tour. While the guide is unsurprisingly European and American focused (Europe gets more than 350 pages; Africa barely gets 70), Shultz covers familiar and obscure attractions with equal enthusiasm. The guide is not meant to be a photo album, but this new edition's photographs (though small) will surely get readers excited about new destinations. Supplemental online resources admirably compensate for the book's biggest flaw (no index) by providing travelers looking to tailor their trips with several themed indexes such as "Sacred Places" and "Gorgeous Beaches and Getaway Islands." This is a great resource for readers in the midst of packing their bags as well as those still waiting to feel the wanderlust. (Nov.)Steve JobsWalter Isaacson. Simon & Schuster, $35 (656p) ISBN 978-1-4516-4853-9If not the greatest of computer moguls, the late Apple Computer co-founder was certainly the most colorful and charismatic to judge by this compelling biography. Journalist Isaacson (Albert Einstein) had his subject's intimate cooperation but doesn't shy away from Jobs's off-putting traits: the egomania; the shameless theft of ideas; the "reality distortion field" of lies and delusions; the veering between manipulative charm and cold betrayal; the bullying rages, profanity and weeping; the bizarre vegetarian diets that he believed would ward off body odor and cancer (he was tragically wrong on both counts). Isaacson also sees the constructive flip-side of Jobs's flaws, arguing that his crazed perfectionism and sublime sense of design-he wanted even his computers' circuit boards to be visually elegant-begat brilliant innovations, from the Mac to the iPad, that blended "poetry and processors." The author oversells Jobs as the digital artiste pitting well-crafted, vertically integrated personal computing experiences against the promiscuously licensed, bulk-commodity software profferred by his Microsoft rival Bill Gates. (Gates's acerbic commentary on Jobs's romanticism often steals the page.) Still, Isaacson's exhaustively researched but well-paced, candid and gripping narrative gives us a great warts-and-all portrait of an entrepreneurial spirit-and one of the best accounts yet of the human side of the computer biz. Photos.
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From the Publisher

Praise for Cold Front

"Evocative." —Washington Post

Product Details

Counterpoint Press
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8.60(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.70(d)

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