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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the National Book Award

This best-selling, groundbreaking exploration of the Far North is a classic of natural history, anthropology, and travel writing.

The Arctic is a perilous place. Only a few species of wild animals can survive its harsh climate. In this modern classic, Barry Lopez explores the many-faceted wonders of the Far North: its strangely stunted forest, its mesmerizing aurora borealis, its frozen seas. Musk oxen, polar bears, narwhal, and other exotic beasts of the region come alive through Lopez’s passionate and nuanced observations. And, as he examines the history and culture of the indigenous people, along with parallel narratives of intrepid, often underprepared and subsequently doomed polar explorers, Lopez drives to the heart of why the austere and formidable Arctic is also a constant source of breathtaking beauty, beguilement, and wonder. 

Written in prose as memorably pure as the land it describes, Arctic Dreams is a timeless mediation on the ability of the landscape to shape our dreams and to haunt our imaginations. 

Look for Barry Lopez's new book, Horizon, available now. 

©2013 Barry Lopez (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Extraordinary.... A master nature writer.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“One of those landmark works of travel writing.” (The New Yorker

“Dazzling.... Treats the distant, snowy world of the Arctic as a place that exists not only in the mathematics of geography but also in the terra incognita of our imaginations.” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

What listeners say about Arctic Dreams

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  • Overall
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Haunting narrative and perfect narration

This was a beautiful book and it was narrated perfectly. I plan to listen again many times.

4 people found this helpful

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Integration of arctic experience and wisdom

A history of arctic exploration including its follies, exaltations, hubris , and tragedies. Written with paradoxical humility and eloquence. The author reports the folly and triumph of human expeditions with matter-of-fact objectivity. Vivid description of the land and its indigenous peoples described with deeply felt reverence. The exploitation of arctic lands for its abundant riches and for the attainment of fame is reported in historical context. Both the study of a geographical place, and humankind’s interaction with this place, including thoughtful reflection of greed, danger, magnificence, brilliance and mystery.

2 people found this helpful

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Really well written

This is a very well-written book. The narrative grows more impressive the further you go till it becomes immense in its scope and language. I plan to listen again soon.

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Over written

When the author compares the town all these books take place as like Narnia, I'm out'a here!