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Midnight Wilderness: Journeys in Alaska's…

Midnight Wilderness: Journeys in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

by Debbie S. Miller

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Debbie Miller's Midnight Wilderness slightly deceived me. I picked the book up hoping for adventure and excitement in a lesser-known part of our country and instead found myself pouring through page after page of anti-oil drilling service announcements. Now let me make it known right now that I do not condone or support oil drilling in this natural, wild area, and reading this book made me more well-informed on the issue and against it. However, even the chapters on Miller's exciting hikes throughout the Refuge, she continuously throws punches at oil drilling. I get it. When I'm reading about adventurous hikes in treacherous and wonderful areas, I don't appreciate my attention being pulled away and pushed back into an anti-drilling campaign. It ruined the book for me as a whole. I'm glad the author is passionate about the issue, and it is an issue that should be brought to the public's attention, but don't market the book as being about "journeys in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge" when it's clearly written to express the author's views on a current event. I would have thoroughly enjoyed it exponentially more if every other page didn't discuss abandoned oil barrels or drilling settlements. I got the feeling that the author meant to constantly disrupt the majesty her descriptions of the landscape created with the ugly images of development to create the image of the possible future this land faces. Wonderful cause, but I did not enjoy the frequency of the interruptions. I was hoping for more glimpses into this Arctic world. I waited patiently to learn of the native people living in the area and was deeply disappointed when the author made no attempt to divulge their culture or society to the reader. I believe these people are of great importance to the area and would love to have learned more about them. Miller says at the beginning of her work that she wanted to include a chapter about the Inupiat Eskimos, but felt she could not do them justice in just one chapter. How about a teaser, then? Anything about them and their adaptations to the conditions of their homelands would have been fascinating, but sadly they did not get their time in the sun within the pages of this book.
I felt quite lost through a lot of the book due to the author's usage of terms known to those familiar with the landscape and terrain, but with little to no explanation for a reader who has never experienced a "tussock", "talus", or "moraines".
I give this book 2 out of 5 stars primarily because it didn't hold my attention and it felt like a chore getting through it. I do, however, see that the book was written to voice a very honorable stand on a controversial issue and would be a treasured read for someone more informed on the subject of oil drilling and conservation in this Arctic territory. Someone without knowledge or experience of the area may well become lost and flounder to the book's conclusion. ( )
  StephaniePetty | Oct 16, 2011 |
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