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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all itâ?TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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The Magnetic North: Notes from the Arctic Circle Hardcover – February 1, 2011

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The Magnetic North: Notes from the Arctic Circle + Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374200130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374200138
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #852,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Wheeler thought her polar expedition days were over once she wrote about her Antarctica adventures in Terra Incognita (1998), but the Arctic lured her from her London home. As the best investigative travel writers do, Wheeler explores the past (most passionately the life of Norwegian explorer and Nobel laureate Fridtjof Nansen) and the present in a riveting, many-faceted chronicle. Wheeler describes her challenging Lapland sojourn (with her baby son) among endangered reindeer herders and reports grim facts about the Russian Arctic�s radioactive contamination. In Arctic Alaska, she rides with a woman trucker on the only highway to the Arctic Ocean and explains the damage done to �an Arctic Serengeti teeming with wildlife� by the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Wheeler visits scientists in Greenland, takes an Arctic cruise with her older son, and documents with verve and ire tragically �miscarried cultural assimilation and racial marginalization,� reckless development, and catastrophic pollution, which will all grow worse as the �big melt� accelerates and the Arctic becomes a hotly contested energy frontier. Mordantly funny, gritty, and bracing, Wheeler�s revelatory dispatches from climate-change central are essential. --Donna Seaman


Praise for The Magnetic North

The Magnetic North offers a fascinating tour of a disappearing world. Sara Wheeler is an eloquent and intrepid guide.” —Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe

“A wise, provoking and zestful chronicle, poetic, often tragic and always engaging. Wheeler, a prolific raconteur of distant places, has created the finest book on the Arctic since Hugh Brody’s The Other Side of Eden . . . She has mapped a remarkable journey.” —Rory MacLean, The Sunday Times (London)

The Magnetic North proved irresistibly attractive. I loved . . . Terra Incognita, and this was an equally coddling hoosh of personal travelogue, historical anecdotage and speculative thinking—all the better because Wheeler began her series of Arctic travels, if not a climate change sceptic, then unconvinced about its anthropic cause, and ended up unable to deny the meltwater on the ground.” —Will Self, New Statesman

“A book that deserves to stand alongside Arctic Dreams, Barry Lopez’s classic account of life above the tree line. Indeed, more than once I made the comparison in Wheeler’s favour. She’s funnier, and her writing, while brilliantly evocative, is never overblown . . . If you are lucky you might get to travel in the Arctic yourself; if you don’t, this book is the next best thing.” —Erica Wagner, The Times (London)

“Fantastic . . . Readers are whisked away on an incredible, multifaceted tour of a region still unknown . . . This fact-filled narrative is nearly impossible to put down . . . By chronicling what the Arctic tells us about our past, Wheeler vividly reveals what it tells us about our collective future.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Juan Camaney on April 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book got an enthusiastic review on the New York Times, so my expectations were high. If you have never read anything about the Arctic (like me) it is a passable, sometimes interesting introduction, but overall The Magnetic North is a rambling, plodding book, with just some fascinating bits thrown into the mix.
Things start promisingly with a visit to the Russian Arctic and some very interesting history about the sad fate of the native populations everywhere from Russia to Canada and Scandinavia. Unfortunately,the book eventually deviates into maddeningly irrelevant anecdotes from the author and the mostly uninteresting people she meets along the way; this is a major flaw as the interactions are neither funny nor illuminating, as they are supposed to be, and the book is full of them.
There is an attempt at a structure as the author travels to all the countries which have territory in the Arctic, but it reads like several National Geographic articles put together.
This haphazard quality is balanced by interesting historical information provided in each chapter: the relocation of Canadian native populations in the Sixties, Mussolini's quest for glory via zeppelins and the horror of the Soviet Gulag; but once again these are not exhaustive histories as the research seems at best superficial, although it is interesting if you have never read it before.
All in all the book does not do justice to its subject and just makes a passable read.
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful By   on March 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
An interesting panorama of Arctic regions and concerns but boy, could she use a knowledgeable editor. Stupid mistakes and "fancy" writing distract from the point of the book. She says "downwind" when she means "upwind", confuses dead reckoning with celestial navigation, among other many trivial mistakes. She writes about "leaf-shaped dugout canoes": maple? oak?

And she seems to get off on vicarious sadism: the sins of Stalin are beyond deplorable, but the last chapter, about the monastery near Murmansk, just wallows in descriptions of atrocity after atrocity, none of which have anything in particular to do with the Arctic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Debnance at Readerbuzz on October 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Wheeler takes her readers places no one has been, places no one really wants to go except via books. This time, she guides us through the frozen north, the lands and waters north of the Arctic Circle. She's an ideal guide, one who seeks out all the coolest (in both senses of the word) spots and who finds all the best of the Arctic stories, and relates her tales with a delightfully literate vocabulary.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Love her works - I may never get to where she has traveled - but "vicarious thrills" for us arm-chair readers...
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