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Arctic Dreams (1986)

by Barry Lopez

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1,767358,180 (4.15)168
For better readers, an account of the history, ecology, and mystique of the arctic region.
Recently added byMLHart, ibazel, RErickson, private library, tmahmann, Bctiger24, lauraolive
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English (34)  Spanish (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
There are some really wonderful descriptions of the arctic and Lopez's reactions the land and the fauna and the people both indigenous and interloper. Also a good deal of history.
What there aren't are images which would enhance readers' connections to the material though several non-relevant images of the author are crammed into the back. ( )
  quondame | Aug 2, 2022 |
I can't believe this was written in the 80s. Lopez talks about the deep, reciprocal knowledge and dignity of people in right relationship with the land (or, in the case of colonialists, the absence of this knowledge and dignity) in a way that feels absolutely current.

I got ice-bound in Chapter 8, which chronicles one European expedition after another, and I had to skip a lot of the chapter, but the rest of the book is mesmerizing. Muskoxen, polar bears, narwhals, light and ice, spectacular human and animal migrations, meditations on how and why Western people project our ideas onto the land rather than partaking of it, our disquiet in our lonely separation from the rest of creation. What a beautiful book.

It is a shock to read a deep reflection on the relationship of humans and the Arctic that doesn't mention climate change... I guess that the climate crisis just wasn't yet on the radar of even as thoughtful a naturalist as Lopez. ( )
  GwenRino | Jun 15, 2022 |
This book is overwhelming. It makes the landscape of the Arctic come to life, with it's focus on the fauna and geography of the tundra.
Arctic Dreams is a kind of prayer. Written with the utmost love and respect for nature, it is Barry Lopez' worship. ( )
  dragon178 | Nov 7, 2021 |
The title says it all...the Arctic as it was in the early 1980s presented in a way that literally feels like you are in a dream while reading it. Lopez passed away almost exactly a month ago as I am writing this. I'd like to think his heaven is like the Arctic he so poetically invokes. If so, it would be a wild, surprising place that is full of austere beauty, life, and grace.

My biggest surprise from the book is how fascinating muskoxen are. In the hands of a great writer, anything can be captivating. Lopez brings us three gifts: his beautiful prose, an appreciation of the science, history, and geography of the arctic region, and most importantly to my mind, an acquaintance with Lopez and his inner workings. I found him to be a thoughtful, intelligent man with a sense of integrity that seems so sorely missing from our culture today. ( )
  Library_Lin | Oct 4, 2021 |
If you are Canadian or really and truly interested in the Arctic, then this would rate five stars for you.

I was more interested in the history, facts and observations than the occasional musings.

Nice assortment of maps. ( )
  KENNERLYDAN | Jul 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barry Lopezprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rambelli, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The landscape conveys an impression of absolute permanence. It is not hostile. It is simply there - untouched, silent and complete. It is very lonely, yet the absence of all human traces gives you the feeling that you understand this land and can take your place in it.
Edmund Carpenter
Once in his life a man ought to concentrate his mind upon the remembered earth. He ought to give himself up to a particular landscape in his experience; to look at it from as many angles as he can, to wonder upon it, to dwell upon it.
He ought to imagine that he touches it with his hands at every season and listens to the sounds that are made upon it.
He ought to imagine the creatures there and all the faintest motions of the wind. He ought to recollect the glare of the moon and the colors of the dawn and dusk.
N. Scott Momaday
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For Sandra
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On a warm summer day in 1823, the Cumbrian, a 360-ton British whaler, sailed into the waters off Pond's Bay (now Pond Inlet), northern Baffin Island, after a short excursion to the north.
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For better readers, an account of the history, ecology, and mystique of the arctic region.

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