ACDelco Radiators & Heating Components Shop Men's Watches Cloud Drive Photos nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums belkin Fire TV Stick Beauty Videos Introducing Handmade Create an Amazon Wedding Registry Amazon Gift Card Offer wdftv wdftv wdftv  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Shop Now STEM Toys & Games
A History of the Arctic and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy New
  • List Price: $35.00
  • Save: $8.16 (23%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
has been added to your Cart
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $7.22
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

A History of the Arctic: Nature, Exploration and Exploitation Hardcover – December 15, 2012

7 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$22.84 $19.00

"Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency"
Don't miss the new best-seller from Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. See more.
$26.84 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • A History of the Arctic: Nature, Exploration and Exploitation
  • +
  • Russia's Arctic Strategies and the Future of the Far North
  • +
  • Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic
Total price: $82.83
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews


2013 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

"While containing an almost insatiable wealth of information, this book is incredibly fun to read… This reviewer [is] deeply impressed by the eloquence with which McCannon has approached the theme of the book…It should be a prerequisite for all those interested in Arctic history and/or engaged in studying the Arctic one way or the other." -- Polar Record (Cambridge University)

'I have long sought an outstanding general environmental history of the Arctic only to be disappointed. John McCannon's new work, A History of the Arctic, admirably fills this need.... It is a thoughtful, broadly-considered, and sometimes provocative study that offers a transnational perspective on the profound changes over time taking place in this significant region.' --Roger D. Launius, Senior Curator in the Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institute

'A dazzling tour d'horizon . . . Anyone who cares about the Arctic should read this sobering book. Let's hope his gloomy predictions are wrong. I suspect he is right.' --Klaus Dodds, Professor of Geopolitics Royal Holloway, University of London

'A remarkable voyage through the Arctic, from its misty past to contentious present. A graceful writer with a fine eye for telling detail, McCannon offers an exciting, broad-sweep tour ... A must-read volume for the general public and scholars alike.' - -- Ronald E. Doel Florida State University

"This is one of the few books in English (as well as, arguably, the best one) to deal with these themes from a widely comprehensive circumpolar perspective rather that a strictly national one. The chapter 'Crusades,' for example... examines not only those explorers familiar to English speakers, but also lesser-known Finns, Icelanders, Faroese, Greenlanders, and Russians. Indigenous people also figure large in these pages. This makes the book tremendously valuable; as an added bonus, it is approachably and engagingly written. It should serve for some considerable time as the standard work on the subject....Essential." -- Choice

"John McCannon's book is a valuable and timely addition....It's never dull, and [McCannon] possesses a keen eye for detail, especially in chronicling the region's wildlife and the painful transition from exploration to exploitation....This is a thoughtful, provocative study that should be read by anyone who cares about the Arctic's fate." -- Geographical Magazine

About the Author

John McCannon is associate professor of history at Southern New Hampshire University and the author of Red Arctic: Polar Exploration and the Myth of the North in the Soviet Union, 1932-1939.


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 349 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books; First Edition edition (December 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780230184
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780230184
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 7 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Isaac A. Mills on October 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover
John McCannon's "A History of the Arctic: Nature, Exploration and Exploitation" is a monograph of exceptional quality, which should be read by anyone, irrespective of academic background, who is interested in understanding or cares for the future of this vastly important region of our world. This book fundamentally altered the paradigm through which I view contemporary policies towards the Arctic and made me reevaluate my former positions on Arctic resource extraction and the impacts of global warming. It is exceedingly rare to read something that has such transformative power, and for that alone I would highly recommend "A History of the Arctic" to anyone.

Ostensibly, McCannon's "A History of the Arctic" is a history of a geographic region, the waters and land that have fluctuated north of 60°N, from the beginning of the Pleistocene epoch roughly 2.6 million years ago to the present. While the majority of McCannon's analysis is appropriately focused on the last millennium, successfully covering such a vast temporal period in a mere 307 page monograph is a feat unto itself. But, "A History of the Arctic" offers its readers so much more than just this, as McCannon has masterfully woven together a cogent and engaging narrative that examines: geographic, environmental, political, ethnographic, ecological, anthropological, exploratory, and economic history across the circumpolar north.

Despite taking on such a wide breadth of issues, the book remains logically and coherently organized first by chronology, then by theme, and finally by region. As a result, I found "A History of the Arctic" to be extremely readable, easy to follow, and accessible for future reference.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lyndonbrecht on February 3, 2015
Format: Hardcover
I have been deeply interested in the Arctic since long ago, I worked at a place called the Arctic Institute of North America. At the time I was a sort of intern interested in polar science. That possible career vanished but the interest remains. McCannon's book is the best overview I have read. It necessarily addresses some aspects briefly, given its trans-Arctic focus and short length, but it is an excellently and passionately written.

The book manages to cover and cover well nature and climate, history of the many Native peoples, the coming of outside rule, present and future. This includes an appreciation for the hardiness of aboriginals in an exceedingly harsh environment. The outside penetration of the Arctic led to the near genocidal exploitation of the Aleuts, Scandinavian efforts to sterilize Sami people (on the grounds of eugenics), as well as massive environmental pollution. The book covers all this, as well as--at least to an extent--the Soviet treatment of "small peoples" and the prison camps of the Gulag; the Arctic as a pawn in the Cold War; the effects of global warming. And yes, the whaling era. Species are discussed, of course. McCannon connects the species evolved to live in this harsh place with the people who developed the means to live there, too.

Both animals and people are liable to go extinct. Obviously the passionate writing got this particular reader feeling passionate about the place, too.

The tone is a bit pessimistic, in that we've altered the climate and will not do anything to remedy it; that the rights of native peoples have been trampled on whenever mainstream society has decided to exploit Arctic resources, and that will not change. His last chapter, "Extinctions," covers this most completely and imparts a sort of soon-to-be-nostalgia tone. That probably sounds melodramatic, but I liked the book well enough to read it twice.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By Sprague Theobald on June 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
McCannon's "A History of The Arctic" is hands-down one of the best, if not the best accounting of the past, present and future of an area that is ours to lose. His writng, while intellectual and learned is approachable and spellbinding. By p.50 you understand just what "Climate Change" is and more importantly, what it isn't. By p.100 you clearly understand that if we are to lose this area to wanton drilling and prospecting it would sound the death knell of the beginning of our cultural, maritime and ecological end. This book belongs on the shelves of anyone with half a conscious, and should be on every holiday, birthday and graduation gift list. Simply put; buy it.

Sprague Theobald
The Other Side of the Ice: One Family's Treacherous Journey Negotiating the Northwest Passage
The Other Side of the Ice [HD]
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A History of the Arctic by John McCannon is a very readable book and the best I've read so far on the subject (I've read over 25). Filled with historical, cultural and environmental facts, Professor McCannon weaves the many story lines into a very useful work that fills in many of the gaps other books leave out. It also presents a fair treatment of sovereignty issues and points to the many pervasive challenges any country would encounter if they choose to conquer the High North above 70 degrees latitude. I highly recommend this work to anyone who wants to know more about the history of the Arctic.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
A History of the Arctic: Nature, Exploration and Exploitation
This item: A History of the Arctic: Nature, Exploration and Exploitation
Price: $26.84
Ships from and sold by