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Whales, Ice, and Men: The History of Whaling in the Western Arctic Paperback – March, 1995

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press (March 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0295974478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0295974477
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,706,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Arctic historian and archaeologist, John R. Bockstoce has been traveling and working in the North since 1962. He has carried out a series of excavations at Bering Strait and served for ten seasons as a member of an Eskimo whaling crew at Point Hope, Alaska. In the 1970s he descended the Tanana and Yukon rivers by canoe from Fairbanks to Nome and traveled along the coast from there to Barrow Strait in arctic Canada. Later he twice traversed the Northwest Passage by boat.

He is the author of many books, monographs, and articles, including Arctic Passages: A Unique Small Boat Voyage through the Great Northern Waterway(1991, 1992), Arctic Discoveries: Images from Voyages of Four Decades in the North (2000), High Latitude, North Atlantic: 30,000 Miles through Cold Seas and History (2003), and the award-winning Whales, Ice and Men: The History of Whaling in the Western Arctic (1986, 1995). The University of Alaska recently conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Science in recognition of his contributions to Arctic studies.

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Comprehensively researched, this book provides a complete history of whaling in Alaska, from its inception to its demise. Whaling was an important part of American history, a unique part that is forever gone, and deserves examination, despite our present sentiments on the subject. Mr. Bockstoce's history is thorough and provides considerable detail, and delves into a wide range of issues, from economic factors to the impact on the Native population. Still, the book is more than history. What makes it fascinating reading are the anecdotes and personal glimpses into the lives of the people who were involved. Whatever else they were, they did not lack for courage and perseverance. It's their stories, funny, strange, gruesome, or just colorful, that make the lost ships and abandoned harbors and history come to life. Overall, an great read for anyone with an interest in a clear and concisely-written history that includes personalities as well as data.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven L. Waterman on May 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is the best one I have read about the history of whaling. It gives the reader a perspective that others sometimes do not. It is well illustrated and gives you the feel that you are actually part of the history Mr. Bockstoce is presenting. You understand how and why the Arctic whaling industry thrived and finally met its demise.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KDeRoo on August 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is pretty much the standard work on Yankee whaling in the Western Arctic (1848-1910s). Fourteen chapters describe the first pioneering voyage through the Bering Strait by Thomas Welcome Roys in 1848, the history of the trade up until that historic year, an account of a typical voyage to the Arctic, how whales were chased and caught, the rise and fall of the trade in the region, how the civil war affected it, an interlude on walrusing, trade, and finally the introduction of steam whaling in the 1880s and the advent of over-wintering voyages in the 1890s. The book includes a detailed notes and references section as well as five appendices, including a chronology of the trade, an estimated tally of how many bowheads were caught, a glossary, and a fascinating gazetteer of whaler's place names. There are also several neat maps and a number of black-and-white illustrations (mostly photographs, but also a few paintings and drawings). I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of whaling.
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