The Last Imaginary Place: A Human History of the Arctic World

The Last Imaginary Place: A Human History of the Arctic World

by Robert McGhee
Pub. Date:
University of Chicago Press


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The Last Imaginary Place: A Human History of the Arctic World

Sea ice and the midnight sun, flaming aurora and endless winter night—the arctic of traveler's tales and romantic novels is the unattainable dream of a vast and desolate world—the last imaginary place on Earth.
Now, in this fascinating volume, renowned archeologist Robert McGhee lifts the veil to reveal the true Arctic. Combining anthropology, history, and personal memoir, this book dispels romanticized notions of the Arctic as a world apart, exotic and isolated, revealing a land far more fascinating than we had imagined. McGhee paints a vivid portrait of the movement of Viking farmers across the North Atlantic islands, and of the long and arduous searches for sea-passages to Asia. We meet the fur-traders who pioneered European expansion across the northern forests of Canada and Siberia, the whalers and ivory-hunters who ravaged northern seas, and patriotic explorers racing to reach the North Pole. Most important, McGhee offers far more coverage of the native peoples of the Arctic, societies that other histories usually neglect. We discover how northerners have learned to exploit a rich "hunter's world" where game is, contrary to our expectations, far easier to find than in more temperate lands. McGhee takes us to a thousand-year-old Tuniit campsite perfectly preserved in the Arctic cold, follows the entrepreneurial Inuit as they cross the Arctic in search of metal, and reveals the dangers that native people face today from industrial pollution and global warming.
Flavored by McGhee's personal reflections based on thirty years of work and travel in the region, here is a wide ranging, enlightening look at one of the most culturally rich and fascinating areas of the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226500898
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 03/01/2007
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Robert McGhee is the Curator of Arctic Archeology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. An archeologist who has conducted over thirty years of research on the ancient peoples of the Arctic, he was awarded the 2000 Massey Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Canada's highest award for excellence in the geographical sciences. He lives in near Ontario, Canada.

Table of Contents

Prelude: An Arctic Vision 

1 After the Ice Age
2 A Distant Paradise: The Arctic in Ancient Thought
3 A Hunter's World
4 In Arctic Siberia
5 Vikings and Arctic Farmers: The Norse Atlantic Saga
6 Inuit
7 Ice and Death on the Northeast Passage
8 Martin Frobisher's Gold Mines
9 The Rape of Spitsbergen
10 Bay of Tragedy
11 Frozen Glory
12 The People's Land
13 An Arctic Journey

    Useful References, Interesting Reading

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