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Where Mountains Are Nameless

  • The remote, northeastern corner of Alaska is home to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which politicians call ANWR, a nineteen-million-acre wilderness that may contain as much as 16 billion barrels of crude oil. Conservationists and developers have fought bitterly over the land for the last half-century, an era in which petroleum has virtually come to define Alaska. Struggling to combat the big-money politics that threaten the region, the conservation efforts of one couple, Olaus and Mardy Murie, made them legendary.

    Jonathan Waterman's 2004 book, Where Mountains Are Nameless: Passion and Politics in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, blends historical narrative with vivid tales of his journeys into the Arctic Refuge wilderness, creating a tension between past and present, science and politics, reflection and investigation.

    Since 1983, he has taken eighteen trips into the far North, and spent over two hundred days in and around the embattled Arctic Refuge. While paddling or trekking cross-country, Waterman encounters howling wolves, British Petroleum workers, Inupiat hunters, and the oil-ravaged Prince William Sound.

    Where Mountains Are Nameless: Passion and Politics in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge explores how the hunt for oil has choked Alaska's pristine wilderness and also traces the lives of the celebrated Muries, who spearheaded establishment of the original wildlife range. This memorable portrait makes the stakes over the Arctic Refuge vividly clear.

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