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The Future History of the Arctic

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  122 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Long at the margins of global affairs and at the edge of our mental map of the world, the Arctic has found its way to the center of the issues which will challenge and define our world in the twenty-first century: energy security and the struggle for natural resources, climate change and its uncertain speed and consequences, the return of great power competition, the remak ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by PublicAffairs (first published October 1st 2009)
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Dan Carey
Thorough and entertainingly written. But the main problem with this book is how quickly parts of it feel dated. Although published in 2010, the state of affairs in economics, geopolitics, and climate change are moving so rapidly that book occasionally feels much older.
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
I'm sorry, I couldn't even finish this book. I learned a decent amount of information from the half I did get through, but it was so dry, and it just dragged on. I love history and politics, I'm fascinated and well educated in science and global warming. This should've been right up my ally. And it could've been..had the author been capable of delivering his research with any kind of drama, suspense, or even a little incredulity or excitement. I'm disappointed, because I feel that this subject i ...more
Andy Walker
With the effects of global warming beginning to have an impact on our planet and with proven reserves of the carbon fuels which may have caused much of this warming on the wane, humanity finds itself at a crossroads. Do we use technological know-how to mitigate climate change or adapt to new circumstances. Nowhere on earth is this dilemma more apparent than in the arctic. On one hand, rising temperatures could bring boomtime to the north, opening up the Northwest Passage to shipping and slashing ...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
This was less about the future history of the arctic and more about the political boundaries that have defined it up until the present. It also focuses heavily on the oil and gas trades there and the economic stability/feasibility of sustaining various populations in the arctic. I thought the most interesting bit was the connections/ties to Greenland and Denmark I had no idea how interdependent Greenland was and what this meant for the country. There was a lot about Russia and nuclear testing/in ...more
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, policy
As an overview of the present and future of the Arctic region, this is a wonderful book. Basically you are taken on a circumnavigation of the region, starting in Russia. I learned many new pieces of info - both from the past and the future.
For a while I didn't think I'd make it through all 314 pages, but after about a quarter of the way in the pace picked up and it became an easier read. That said, this is a pretty academic text - you'll find yourself regularly thumbing back to the end notes.
I w
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book ought to be mandatory reading for Greenpeace activists involved in challenging Russia's arctic plans and Americans against drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Understanding the underlying political ad economic ideologies in the Kremlin and Washington can provide insights into how we can hope to save the Arctic from a new resources rush in the 21st century. This book covers the historical and future ambitions of the Arctic countries and what the Arctic represents for each ...more
Oct 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: current-events
I checked this book out because I thought it would center on a discussion of global change. There was some of this but mostly conjecturing that
global warming would be good for the arctic in many ways. Kind of a naive position given there was little analysis of how the rest of the world would be affected. But the author wanted to concentrate on the arctic. I learned a few things about arctic history and about the influence of the arctic on policies in the US, Russia, Norway, and Canada, and a bit
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Gwen by: Marginal Revolution 3.25.2010
Wonderful book, even though I'm less interested in the Arctic. Lengthy discussions on enviromental policy and strategic resource acquisition. The best section was the country casestudies: Greenland, Iceland, and Norway. What have each of these regions done to explore the Arctic? Why is the Arctic important to their economies? How has colonialism affected current policies? What is the future of each economy in an era of globalization? An excellent book. ...more
Mar 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, science
Pretty good discussion of history and politics of the Arctic. Way more than I was interested in about oil in the Arctic. It lacked a coherent thesis to unify the book, so it ended up feeling more like a series of mildly interesting facts than anything very significant about the future of the Arctic.
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, politics, science
Really fascinating history of the Arctic and a look at where things are likely to go. Some of the older stuff was less interesting but balanced by the rest of the older stuff which was absolutely fascinating. The Soviet projects in the far North sounded awful. How this all plays out in a warming world could be good for some people and catastrophic for others.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
A curious mix of 20c history, future geopolitical directions, and travelogue, presenting a thoroughly Arctic perspective. But ultimately that all means a lot of Soviets and Resource Extraction scenarios.
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
not nearly as interesting a read as the front cover.

it talks about how climate change and development of natural resources will impact geopolitical powers within the Arctic. I find the chapters towards the end that dwell on Norway, Greenland and Iceland slightly more engaging.
Dec 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Not bad, but a choppy structure alternating between feature journalism and dry historical summary.
Dan O'Neill
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well worth reading. Can be tough going at times, but a really interesting look at the history of the Arctic and the current energy situation there.
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it

Excellent and original overview of the rapidly emerging future conflict or perhaps cooperation zone, where climate change, the scramble for ressources, geopolitics and empty space collide
Norman Cohen
Nov 22, 2010 added it
Shelves: own
Great source for this piece I am writing. Now I really want to visit somewhere above the Arctic Circle....but where?
Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
33.33% interesting facts, 66.67% college-term-paper-type rhetorical questions and meaningless puffy quotes.

I think I need to stop reading nonfiction for a while.
Justiina Dahl
Apr 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Despite its name this is an excellent overview of the world's polar history. ...more
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Author and senior research fellow at Chatham House.

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