• Floating Coast

  • An Environmental History of the Bering Strait
  • By: Bathsheba Demuth
  • Narrated by: Christa Lewis
  • Length: 12 hrs and 30 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The first-ever comprehensive history of Beringia, the Arctic land and waters stretching from Russia to Canada, Floating Coast breaks away from familiar narratives to provide a fresh and fascinating perspective on an overlooked landscape. 

The unforgiving territory along the Bering Strait had long been home to humans - the Inupiat and Yupik in Alaska, and the Yupik and Chukchi in Russia - before Americans and Europeans arrived with revolutionary ideas for progress. Rapidly, these frigid lands and waters became the site of an ongoing experiment: How, under conditions of extreme scarcity, would the great modern ideologies of capitalism and communism control and manage the resources they craved?

Drawing on her own experience living with and interviewing indigenous people in the region, as well as from archival sources, Demuth shows how the social, the political, and the environmental clashed in this liminal space. Through the lens of the natural world, she views human life and economics as fundamentally about cycles of energy, bringing a fresh and visionary spin to the writing of human history.

Floating Coast is a profoundly resonant tale of the dynamic changes and unforeseen consequences that immense human needs and ambitions have brought, and will continue to bring, to a finite planet.

©2019 Bathsheba Demuth (P)2020 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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What listeners say about Floating Coast

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Beautiful and necessary

This beautiful and well researched book tells an important story of Beringia. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

The performance was wonderful. The only reason I give it 4 stars instead of 5 is because of a couple of words that are consistently mispronounced. I’m not sure most people outside of Alaska would notice, but I imagine they make the author cringe a little bit. Please don’t let this dissuade you from listening, though. It’s entirely worth it.

2 people found this helpful

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Stunning work of history and literature

I cannot think of another recent work that is both path breaking environmental history and breathtaking work of literature. The research is deep and the argument persuasive, this would be an important work if the writing were pedestrian. But the writing is luminous. So many times I stopped to savor a phrase, so perfect. This is the best work of history I've read in years.

2 people found this helpful

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This is a masterwork

Demuth’s examination of this remarkable region is an engaging and valuable primer for those who work for agencies, the conservation community and anyone interested in Berengia’s complicated ecological, cultural, and political history. Extremely well written and narrated. I’m recommending this to all my colleagues and kin - especially those heading north.

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Assirpaa // It is really good

I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook. I listened to it over the span of ~ 9 months. Demuth is such a good storyteller putting all perspectives of history using science into a book. I’ll definitely read this again and recommend it.