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Furs and Frontiers in the Far North: The Contest among Native and Foreign Nations for the Bering Strait Fur Trade (The Lamar Series in Western History) First American Edition Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0300149210
ISBN-10: 0300149212
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Editorial Reviews


"Furs and Frontiers in the Far North is a comprehensive history of the international trade in furs that was centered on the Bering Strait region during the 18th and 19th centuries…In scale, the account moves smoothly up and down from specific interactions between particular individuals at one extreme to the broad sweep of international affairs at the other.”—Ernest Burch, Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
(Ernest Burch)

"There is no other work that attempts to cover this far- reaching topic, and hence it fills an important gap in the historiography of the area.  What Bockstoce has produced is a worthy companion-volume to his earlier work, Whales, Ice, and Men, which is recognized as being the definitive source on the history of American whaling in the Western Arctic."—William Barr, Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary
(William Barr)

“This utterly beguiling work reminds us that American history has a north along with its more familiar east, west, and south.  And quite a place it is – a vast region of land, water and ice, nearly beyond all jurisdictions, not easily reached then or now.  But fortunately, we have an incomparable guide in John Bockstoce.  With relentless research, sensitivity, and a palpable love for his subject, he has brought considerable warmth to the study of the far north and the fur trade that drew Europeans and Americans there, from all directions.”—Ted Widmer, Director and Librarian, John Carter Brown Library
(Ted Widmer)

"Though it may appear at first a narrow specialist study, John Bockstoce's Furs and Frontiers in the Far North is in fact a wide-ranging work of natural science, anthropology, economic history, technology, exploration, and international intrigue—all presented with consummate grace, scholarship, and above all enthusiasm."—David H. Stam, Syracuse University
(David H. Stam)

"A comprehensive history of the Native and maritime fur trade in Alaska during the 18th and 19th centuries."—Gretchen Weiss, Anchorage Daily News
(Gretchen Weiss Anchorage Daily News 2009-12-26)

“This book is as near perfect as I think any book about the fur trade can be. . . .[It] is a gold mine of information for historians, geographers, ethnologists, and antiquarians. It shows what can be done by a perceptive scholar who has complete command of the subject and of the English language.”--The Arctic Book Review
(The Arctic Book Review)

“An important and epoch-making book.”--American Historical Review
(American Historical Review)

Recipient of the 2010 William Mills Prize for non-fiction books sponsored by Polar Libraries.
(2010 William Mills Prize Polar Libraries 2010-01-01)

"It is not easy in a short review to do justice to a book as comprehensive and magisterial as this one...Furs and Frontiers in the Far North is a fascinating, impeccably researched, and engagingly written work of scholarship."--William R. Morrison, Western Historical Quarterly
(William R. Morrison Western Historical Quarterly)

Winner of the 2009 John Lyman Book Award in the category of U.S. Maritime History
(2009 John Lyman Book Award North American Society for Oceanic History)

"Furs and Frontiers in the Far North joins a spate of outstanding recently released books on the fur trade . . . that are adding exponentially to our knowledge of this subject and in ways that heretofore have never been examined in such depth or argued with such nuance and grace. With Furs and Frontiers in the Far North, John Bockstoce has solidified his reputation as one of our foremost historians of the fur trade and its relentless sweep across continents."—Cary C. Collins, Canadian Journal of History
(Cary C. Collins Canadian Journal of History)

About the Author

Arctic specialist John R. Bockstoce is an independent scholar and the author of many books, monographs, and articles on the history of the Arctic.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Lamar Series in Western History
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First American Edition edition (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300149212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300149210
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #909,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Paul L. Comstock on October 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The title of this book and the expectation of information that may motivate one to enter its contents does not impart the reality of the experience I enjoyed each time I opened its covers. I found myself, as in John's other works on the far north, immediately engaged in the period and the lives of the participants. His use of journals, not as mere sources of data to be reported, but as a way of allowing us to actually be there and feel the history by experiencing it through the personal words of those who were, has added to an incredible scholarly work of fact. He gives us a personal journey with those who are the source of those facts.

What was most interesting was to see the universality in the development of commerce in an emerging market. Not unlike such markets of the 21st century, we are introduced to those who seek and those who have and witness their timely transformation as well of that of the society in which they live. The issues of personal excesses, greed, power and control seem to be a central negative theme for many of those involved directly and indirectly. Learning how all can benefit in a positive way from such market expansions while being cautious of promoting the challenges of such runaway excesses is enhanced if we pay attention to what others experienced. John reinforced this common and repeated challenge by engaging me in the lives of those so impacted.

My experience included a better understanding that was beyond what I had expected. John made it a very real, personal and engaging experience.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bockstoce is without question the leading authority on the history of trade and culture in the Arctic, and in my view one of the most articulate. Deeply researched and at the same a compelling narrative - fascinating.
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Format: Paperback
A fair warning: I have only skimmed the book. A librarian, it caught my eye on our new book shelf. I took it to look at on my lunch hour, and was quite surprised to see no listings in the index for the Orthodox Church, Herman of Alaska, religion etc.,or much mention of such in the text, based on a quick skim of it. I would not want to overstate the importance of these things, but as a member of the Orthodox Church I have been intrigued by accounts of the tension for example between Russian Orthodox missionaries and the Russian-American fur trading company, with the missionaries frequently acting as advocates for and protectors of the native peoples. A good account of this may be found in Chevigny's Russian America: the Great Alaskan Venture 1741 - 1867. Many native peoples in Alaska today are Orthodox, and their languages were often first studied and given written form by Orthodox missionaries. The omission seems an unfortunate oversight in what otherwise appears to be a fine study of the topic.
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