Named a Best Book of the Year by three major newspapers upon its initial publication, and now available for the first time in paperback, Eye of the Whale offers an exhilarating blend of adventure and natural history as Dick Russell follows the migration of the gray whale from Mexico's Baja peninsula to the Arctic's Bering Strait.
Originally named "Devil-fish' by nineteenth-century whalers, the gray whale's friendly overtures toward humans over the past generation helped to spark the growth of today's whale-watching industry. This majestic marine mammal has also become a focus of controversy, as environmentalists fought to protect its breeding area from industrial development, some protested renewed hunting by a Native American tribe, and, more recently, scientific studies have noted a new decline in the whale's population.
Russell's narrative interweaves the remarkable story of Charles Melville Scammon, a nineteenth-century whaling captain responsible for bringing gray whales to the brink of extinction, whose change of heart led to his becoming a renowned naturalist. Retracing Scammon's path, the author encounters contemporary marine biologists who have devoted their lives to studying the gray whale, and native peoples for whom subsistence whale hunting means survival in the most remote regions of the North Pacific.
Called "an extraordinary book" by The Washington Post, Eye of the Whale is a stirring account of a creature that is changing our consciousness about the relationship between human beings and the animal kingdom.
Tucked away in Siberia, there are furry, four-legged creatures with wagging tails and floppy ears that are as docile and friendly as any lapdog. But, despite appearances, these are not dogs—they are foxes. They are the result of the most astonishing experiment in breeding ever undertaken—imagine speeding up thousands of years of evolution into a few decades. In 1959, biologists Dmitri Belyaev and Lyudmila Trut set out to do just that, by starting with a few dozen silver foxes from fox farms in the USSR and attempting to recreate the evolution of wolves into dogs in real time in order to witness the process of domestication. This is the extraordinary, untold story of this remarkable undertaking.
Most accounts of the natural evolution of wolves place it over a span of about 15,000 years, but within a decade, Belyaev and Trut’s fox breeding experiments had resulted in puppy-like foxes with floppy ears, piebald spots, and curly tails. Along with these physical changes came genetic and behavioral changes, as well. The foxes were bred using selection criteria for tameness, and with each generation, they became increasingly interested in human companionship. Trut has been there the whole time, and has been the lead scientist on this work since Belyaev’s death in 1985, and with Lee Dugatkin, biologist and science writer, she tells the story of the adventure, science, politics, and love behind it all. In How to Tame a Fox, Dugatkin and Trut take us inside this path-breaking experiment in the midst of the brutal winters of Siberia to reveal how scientific history is made and continues to be made today.
To date, fifty-six generations of foxes have been domesticated, and we continue to learn significant lessons from them about the genetic and behavioral evolution of domesticated animals. How to Tame a Fox offers an incredible tale of scientists at work, while also celebrating the deep attachments that have brought humans and animals together throughout time.
This all-new collection by former Alaska poet laureate smoothly blends his life in Maine, his years in Alaska, and his love of Chinese poetry—which has been a key influence on his work—into a lyrical fantasy that will enchant lovers of verse. These tightly rhythmic, compact eight-line poems demonstrate a rare deftness with—and an even more uncommon ear for—language, revealing poetic form to be neither a puzzle nor an accomplishment in itself, but a compositional tool and a spur to creativity.
Stephen D. Watrous provides a complete volume of pertinent information by and about John Ledyard, one of the most amazing explorers of all time. Including Ledyard’s own journal, letters between him and others, particularly Thomas Jefferson, and biographical information on eighteenth-century Siberia, Watrous offers an exceptional look at history, geography, and travel.
Drawing on nearly twenty years of fieldwork, as well as ethnohistory, politics, and economics, this volume takes a close look at changes in the lives of the indigenous Siberian Khanty people and draws crucial connections between those changes and the social, cultural, and political transformation that swept Russia during the transition to democracy. Delving deeply into the history of the Khanty—who were almost completely isolated prior to the Russian revolution—the authors show how the customs, traditions, and knowledge of indigenous people interact with and are threatened by events in the larger world.
On the Run in Siberia
Rane Willerslev University of Minnesota Press, 2012 Library of Congress DK759.Y8W5413 2012 | Dewey Decimal 305.8946
If I had let myself be ruled by reason alone, I would surely be lying dead somewhere or another in the Siberian frost.
The Siberian taiga: a massive forest region of roughly 4.5 million square miles, stretching from the Ural Mountains to the Bering Sea, breathtakingly beautiful and the coldest inhabited region in the world. Winter temperatures plummet to a bitter 97 degrees below zero, and beneath the permafrost lie the fossilized remains of mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses, and other ice age giants. For the Yukaghir, an indigenous people of the taiga, hunting sable is both an economic necessity and a spiritual experience—where trusting dreams and omens is as necessary as following animal tracks. Since the fall of Communism, a corrupt regional corporation has monopolized the fur trade, forcing the Yukaghir hunters into impoverished servitude.
Enter Rane Willerslev, a young Danish anthropologist who ventures into this frozen land on an idealistic mission to organize a fair-trade fur cooperative with the hunters. From the outset, things go terribly wrong. The regional fur company, with ties to corrupt public officials, proves it will stop at nothing to maintain its monopoly: one of Willerslev’s Yukaghir business partners is arrested on spurious charges of poaching and illegal trading; another drowns mysteriously. When police are sent to arrest him, Willerslev fears for his life, and he and a local hunter flee to a remote hunting lodge even deeper in the icy wilderness. Their situation turns even more desperate right away: they manage to kill a moose but lose the meat to predators and begin to starve, frostbitten and isolated in the frozen taiga.
Thus begins Willerslev’s extraordinary, chilling tale of one year living in exile among Yukaghir hunters in the stark Siberian taiga region. At turns shocking and quietly moving, On the Run in Siberia is a pulse-pounding tale of idealism, political corruption, starvation, and survival (with a timely assist from Vladimir Putin) as well as a striking portrait of the Yukaghirs’ shamanistic tradition and their threatened way of life, a drama unfolding daily in one of the world’s coldest, most enthralling landscapes.
This major work, the result of collaboration among scholars who worked
at dozens of sites from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, is the
first volume in English to summarize the massive quantity of archaeological
data on the Paleolithic occupation of Siberia. Written by leading Russian
experts and edited by scholars including the late Demitri Shimkin, the
book presents the results of field studies conducted over some twenty-five
It traces the routes of human migration throughout Eurasia, shows Siberian
lithic industries as they evolved from the Early through the Middle and
Late Paleolithic, and correlates them with reports from Mongolia, China,
Japan, and America.
"A major, singular contribution. . . . Several more geographically
or temporally restricted texts exist, but none I've seen can match the
breadth or depth of this massive work."
-- John W. Olsen, coeditor of Paleoanthropology and Paleolithic Archaeology in the People's Republic of China
"A much needed work marked by uniformly high scholarship and clear
writing, this will be a standard reference of value for years to come."
-- J. M. Adovasio, Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute and Archaeology
Research Program, Mercyhurst College
Valentin Rasputin Northwestern University Press, 1997 Library of Congress DK753.R3713 1996 | Dewey Decimal 957
Valentin Rasputin--one of the most gifted and influential Russian prose writers of the past thirty years--offers a sweeping account of and penetrating reflection on the Russians' four hundred years of experience in Siberia. Beginning with Yermak, whose Cossacks crossed into Siberia in the 1580s, through the rapid Russian exploration, conquest, and colonialization, to today, Rasputin reveals the peculiarities of the Siberians, studying the gap between dreams and reality that has plagued Russians in Siberia for centuries.
Olonkho , the epic narrative and song tradition of Siberia 's Sakha people, declined to the brink of extinction during the Soviet era. In 2005, UNESCO 's Masterpiece Proclamation sparked a resurgence of interest in olonkho by recognizing its important role in humanity 's oral and intangible heritage. Drawing on her ten years living in the Russian North, Robin P. Harris documents how the Sakha have used the Masterpiece program to revive olonkho and strengthen their cultural identity. Harris 's personal relationships with and primary research among Sakha people provide vivid insights into understanding olonkho and the attenuation, revitalization, transformation, and sustainability of the Sakha 's cultural reemergence. Interdisciplinary in scope, Storytelling in Siberia considers the nature of folklore alongside ethnomusicology, anthropology, comparative literature, and cultural studies to shed light on how marginalized peoples are revitalizing their own intangible cultural heritage.
Charting the Siberian continental shelf during the height of the Cold War
Unknown Waters tells the story of the brave officers and men of the nuclear attack submarine USS Queenfish (SSN-651), who made the first survey of an extremely important and remote region of the Arctic Ocean. The unpredictability of deep-draft sea ice, shallow water, and possible Soviet discovery, all played a dramatic part in this fascinating 1970 voyage.
Covering 3,100 miles over a period of some 20 days at a laborious average speed of 6.5 knots or less, the attack submarine carefully threaded its way through innumerable underwater canyons of ice and over irregular seafloors, at one point becoming entrapped in an “ice garage.” Only cool thinking and skillful maneuvering of the nearly 5,000-ton vessel enabled a successful exit.
Details the military aspects of the American Expeditionary Force's (AEF) deployment to Siberia following World War I to protect the Trans-Siberian Railroad
In the final months of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson and many US allies decided to intervene in Siberia in order to protect Allied wartime and business interests, among them the Trans-Siberian Railroad, from the turmoil surrounding the Russian Revolution. American troops would remain until April 1920 with some of our allies keeping troops in Siberia even longer.
Few American citizens have any idea that the United States ever deployed soldiers to Siberia and that those soldiers eventually played a role in the Russian revolution while protecting the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Wolfhounds and Polar Bears relies on the detailed reports of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) as well as on personal stories to bring this rarely discussed expedition to life.
Initial chapters recount the period in World War I when conditions in Russia pointed to the need for intervention as well as the varied reasons for that decision. A description of the military forces and the geographic difficulties faced by those forces operating in Siberia provide the baseline necessary to understand the AEF’s actions in Siberia. A short discussion of the Russian Railway Service Corps explains their essential and sometimes overlooked role in this story, and subsequent chapters provide a description of actual operations by the AEF.
Wolfhounds and Polar Bears: The American Expeditionary Force in Siberia, 1918–1920 may well be the most detailed study of the military aspects of the American intervention in Siberia ever undertaken, offering a multitude of details not available in any other book-length history.