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Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land Hardcover – April 1, 2003
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"A 192-page celebration in words and pictures of the bird life of America's greatest wilderness refuge..." -- Leopard Report
"Arctic Wings is a celebration of bird life in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,.." -- Field Notes from North Cascades Institute
"Banerjee's photographs provided irrefutable evidence of the refuge's rich ecological diversity as well as its fragile and unmatched beauty." -- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
"Brown's book is a visually and verbally compelling look at the Arctic." -- San Antonio Express-News
"Stunning photographs....The beautiful photographs and interesting text will appeal to many." -- Wild Bird
"These images are sharply at odds with the notion...that the refuge is a frozen, lifeless place." -- San Francisco Chronicle, February 22, 2004
"This is a tour de force of the Arctic landscape.." -- The Oregonian
Banerjee['s]...exquisite photos allow the voices of plants, animals, and indigenous people to be heard. -- E Magazine
This book should be required reading of every senator, congressman, and president. -- The Explorers Journal
From the Inside Flap
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a touchstone for all people, one of the few remaining ecosystems on our planet unaltered by human impact, where true wilderness can still be experienced. But now the refuge is showing signs of global warming: immense McCall Glacier, measured to have lost more than thirty feet in depth in the last forty years; the northward march of the dwarf willow, moving at a pace not seen in 8,000 years; the alarming decline of the muskox, forced to forage where their calves are vulnerable to predators. And the refuge is further threatened by oil development, which would forever unravel the delicate pattern of nature found here.
Award-winning photographer SUBHANKAR BANERJEE devoted two years of his life to documenting the land, its wild species, and its Native peoples. With Inupiat guide Robert Thompson, Banerjee traveled 4,000 miles through the refuge on foot and by raft, kayak, and snowmobile during all four seasons. With more than 200 breathtaking color images, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land makes this case: Leaving the refuge intact in all its mysterious beauty is vital to the survival of this unique ecosystem.
Banerjees photos are paired with six essays and a foreword by former president JIMMY CARTER.
In his essay, PETER MATTHIESSEN paints in living color the glorious profundity of life encountered on an expedition at the refuge. FRAN MAUER examines the full range of Arctic and sub-Arctic ecosystems found here. WILLIAM MEADOWS recounts the Wilderness Societys role in creating the refuge and helping to protect it for over forty years. DEBBIE MILLER profiles native Gwichin and Inupiat families, by choice tied to the land for survival despite the pressures they face. GEORGE SCHALLER recounts the first expedition that led to the creation of the refuge. DAVID ALLEN SIBLEY experiences the wonder of the Arctic coastal plain aflutter with nesting birds from all six continents. Each comes to the same conclusion: The refuge is an abundant and critical habitat that would be irreversibly destroyed if exploited for oil.
Top Customer Reviews
One thinks of the Arctic as all white. It is not, even in winter. The snow covered ground makes moose, grizzly, musk oxen, porcupine, willows, and many birds stand out. The ptarmigan changes plumage twice a year to blend into the two Arctic seasons. The sky can be brilliantly blue during the day, and green or red with the Aurora Borealis at night.
The summer brings a greater variety of color to the land and draws the migrating birds through our parts of the country to their nesting area in the Refuge. The Porcupine caribou herd is drawn to the Coastal Plain to give birth and to fatten up for the coming long winter. The pictures and essays tell the story of the people, polar and grizzly bears, the caribou, the musk oxen, a variety of smaller animals, and the large number of bird species that live all, or part of, their lives there.
The book has excellent maps. Some illustrate the migration paths of birds from North and South America, Asia, even Africa. Others show: caribou and bowhead whale migration routes; where the people live; and the major geological features.
Banerjee's pictures range from the broad expanse of mountains and rivers to the color and detail of the lichen on the rocks. I've learned much. One would have to spend many months in the Refuge to see what is in this book.
I went to the exhibit at the Smithsonian last week. Despite the political pressure to keep the pictures and the captions hidden from the public, the exhibit is inspirational and uplifting. Too bad the Smithsonian doesn't even have a sign to the exhibit, you have to search for it down in the basement. Get even with those who would keep you from seeing this book--buy it and decide for yourself if this place is worth protecting.
The treatment of Banerjee's photos was so troublesome that Congress held hearings on the matter. But no news report could compare to the feeling of being there, near the elevator.
I took the book home with me, trying to understand whether or not the poor installation was due to poor material or to poor museum administration. Banerjee's photos, and the stories and writings around the photos, are greatly compelling. The story of how hard he worked to get those photos, and of how in the process, he became a better photographer, stood out to me. I highly recommend the book, but I hope I have helped some enthusiasts know just how controversial the notion of natural beauty can be, and how the Smithsonian does play politics. Apparently, reading Banerjee's book can be considered an act of protest.
I just came home from a dinner with Peter Mattiessen at the University of Tulsa, at which he spoke passionately of the phyiscal and finacinal effort Mr. Banerjee undertook to create this work, the reaction in Congress to the book, the pressure upon the Smithsonian and the American Muesum of American History to quash display of Mr. Banerjee's photographs, and his personal fears of deportation or worse by the Justice Department under the Patriot Act. A most frightening portral of the reach real or reasonably feared of this Adminstration when an individual, spcially an alien, dares question its motive. As Senator Stevens(R)Alaska, chair of the Senate Appropriate committee was reported to say to his colleages after Banerjee's testimony, and the Senate voted 52-48 against drilling in ANWR, "I know who you are and you will pay".
To cause such a reaction--it must be worth having.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Book was in great shape. I had loaned my original copy out a long time ago and forgot to who. It was good to be able to get another copy at a reasonable price and in such... Read morePublished on May 18, 2014 by Bonnie Pederson
I spent more than a week above the arctic circle last summer and actually stayed with the same people the author stayed with. Read morePublished on January 29, 2013 by B. G. Snyder
This book was published in large part to disabuse people of the notion that ANWR is a white wasteland. In that it succeeds. Read morePublished on September 23, 2009 by Arnold
My wife has been living in Kaktovik since August. She insisted that we purchase "Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land" because of the accuracy and beauty, of... Read morePublished on March 25, 2009 by Dave Thiel
If you want to read a book about the environmentalists fighting big oil interests in NE Alaska, this book is for you... Read morePublished on January 5, 2005 by kandoro
The entire US Congress should read this book before voting to allow oil drilling in ANWAR. The pictures alone make this book worth owning. Read morePublished on March 30, 2004 by Doris E Beck
I am struck not only by the photographs but also the essays that convey just a sprinkling of what the ANWR is really like. But, what a sprinkling. Read morePublished on September 30, 2003
It's not too often that a book of nature photographs gets to fuel a congressional debate or lead to the Smithsonian being accused of being politicized but this book has done... Read morePublished on June 23, 2003 by Conrad J. Obregon