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Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic [Paperback]

Marla Cone
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 12, 2006 0802142591 978-0802142597
Traditionally thought of as the last great unspoiled territory on Earth, the Arctic is in reality home to some of the most contaminated people and animals on the planet. Awarded a major grant to conduct an exhaustive study of the deteriorating environment of the Arctic by the Pew Charitable Trusts (the first time Pew has given such a grant to a journalist), Los Angeles Times environmental reporter Marla Cone traveled across the Arctic, from Greenland to the Aleutian Islands, to find out why the Arctic is toxic.

Silent Snow is not only a scientific journey, but a personal one. Whether hunting giant bowhead whales with native Alaskans who are struggling to protect their livelihood, or tracking endangered polar bears in Norway, Cone reports with an insider's eye on the dangers of pollution to native peoples and ecosystems, how Arctic cultures are adapting to this pollution, and what solutions will prevent the crisis from getting worse.

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Editorial Reviews


"Her findings are dismaying, yet Silent Snow is not a dismal read. Indeed, Cone may as well be commenting on her own book when describing the tale of the Arctic Paradox as an 'environmental whodunit' having 'all the elementals of an engrossing novel.' ... Would that everyone read Silent Snow and then act on it."

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802142591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802142597
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read December 26, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the Silent Spring for the arctic and a must read for anyone interested in the Arctic or environmental issues. I didn't appreciate some of the description of Barrow, Alaska and that made me question some of the accuracy of the entire book. Example, Marla Cone states that no one goes hungry in Barrow. Whaling is a communal activity but I hardly think that is true. On nearly the same paragraph, the author then describes Barrow as an ugly wasteland (wait a minute - weren't you just saying it was perfect). Anyway, ignoring some of the personal descriptors, I would recommend this book as an introduction to Arctic climate issues.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book December 5, 2013
By Leah
Cone lets the reader develop feelings of responsibility and conviction for the poisoning of the arctic in the powerful way of telling stories of the Inuit and their culture while explaining the tragic and toxic intersection between their culture and ours. She keeps the reader interested by choosing to alternate between personal experience, stories told by native people of the arctic, journeys of the scientists who discovered that the arctic was contaminated and the levels of contamination in the people and animals, and facts. The book is extremely informational, but it kept me interested and engaged the whole way through. Cone causes the reader to become emotionally involved throughout the book by telling personal stories of visiting the arctic and interacting with its’ inhabitants. After I became emotionally attached to the people, land, and animals, Cone described the effects that my lifestyle, as well as all of the urban inhabitants lifestyles, has on the people of the arctic. This gave me a sense of responsibility and conviction to the pollution and the health effects it has on the children and animals.
I agree with Cone, the scientists, and organizations featured in the book and that the pollution we indirectly contaminate the arctic with is a social injustice. I believe that the industrialized world is at fault and is responsible for the negative health effects that our lifestyle causes the arctic people and their land. I think the weight of the harm we are causing them is absolutely on or shoulders and I agree that we are violating their culture by pollution their food, people, and land. This book is an eye opener, a truly interesting and factual account for the effects of our consumer-driven economy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Silent Snow May 9, 2013
By S Walsh
Cone portrays the scientific and cultural aspect of the complex issue of the `Arctic Paradox' in a way that simplifies the complicated politics of how and why this event occurred. The scientific studies done explain the threatening effects of industrialized nation's contaminants ending up in the Arctic; while the native's living in this desolate place, depending on the marine life to survive have become the victims of this disaster without every doing anything more than performing the native task of killing a whale in order to keep the families alive. This book is an eye opening depiction of the long lasting effects that humans have on the environment.
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