The Magnetic North
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The Magnetic North : Travels in the Arctic

  • Paperback
By (author) Sara Wheeler

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Smashing through the Arctic Ocean with the crew of a Russian icebreaker, herding reindeer across the tundra with Lapps and shadowing the Trans-Alaskan pipeline with truckers, Sara Wheeler discovers a complex and ambiguous land belonging both to ancient myth and modern controvery. The Magnetic North is a spicy confection of history, science and reflection in which Wheeler meditates on the role of the Arctic: fragmented lands which fed imaginations long before the scientists and oilmen showed up (not to mention desperado explorers who ate their own shoes). The Magnetic North tells of all this, plus gulag ghosts, old and new Russia, colliding cultures and bioaccumulated toxins in polar bears. Chosen as Book of the Year by Will Self, Michael Palin, A. N. Wilson, Robert Carver and others.

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  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 27mm | 345g
  • 06 May 2010
  • VINTAGE
  • London
  • Illustrations, maps
  • 0099516888
  • 9780099516880
  • 163,461

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Author Information

Sara Wheeler's books include the international bestseller Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica, of which the Telegraph reviewer wrote, 'I do not think there will ever be a better book on the Antarctic.' The Magnetic North: Notes from the Arctic Circle was chosen as Book of the Year by Will Self, Michael Palin, A. N. Wilson and others. Sara's last book was Access All Areas: Selected Writings 1990-2010. She has published two biographies of travellers: Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard, and Too Close to the Sun: The Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton, and was immensely relieved to write about women at last in O My America!. She lives in London.

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Review quote

"A wise, provoking and zestful chronicle, poetic, often tragic and always engaging. Wheeler, a prolific raconteur of distant places, has created the finest book on the Arctic since Hugh Brody's The Other Side of Eden" -- Rory MacLean Sunday Times "An excellent narrator, intelligent, amusing, poetic and down to earth" -- Fergus Fleming Literary Review "Her adventurous spirit, tireless intelligence, and joy shine through...a rare and precious talent" -- Roger Hutchinson Scotsman "Beautiful and terrifying" The Times "Wheeler's book teaches a lot about what is happening in the far north, which is valuable" -- Kathleen James Guardian

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