Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait

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W. W. Norton & Company, Aug 20, 2019 - History - 448 pages
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Winner of the 2021 AHA John H. Dunning Prize
Longlisted for the 2020 Cundill History Prize
Named a Best Book of the Year by Nature, NPR, Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews

"A monument to a people and their land… an allegory of the world we have created." —Sven Beckert, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist Empire of Cotton: A Global History

Floating Coast is the first-ever comprehensive history of Beringia, the Arctic land and waters stretching from Russia to Canada. The unforgiving territories along the Bering Strait had long been home to humans—the Inupiat and Yupik in Alaska, and the Yupik and Chukchi in Russia—before American and European colonization. Rapidly, these frigid lands and waters became the site of an ongoing experiment: How, under conditions of extreme scarcity, would 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, Bathsheba Demuth presents a profound tale of the dynamic changes and unforeseen consequences that human ambition has brought (and will continue to bring) to a finite planet.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

History of the peoples and animals in the Arctic area claimed by Russia and the US via Alaska. There’s a lot of slaughter as both Soviet and capitalist ideas about what whales etc. were for left very little room for relations that were reciprocal and extending indefinitely. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Tytania - LibraryThing

I am so glad I read this. I don't have any particular interest in the Bering Strait, but this wasn't a typical history. Demuth is an exquisitely thoughtful writer. Her "environmental history" is what ... Read full review


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About the author (2019)

Bathsheba Demuth is an environmental historian at Brown University, specializing in the United States and Russia, and in the history of energy and past climates. She has lived in and studied Arctic communities across Eurasia and North America.

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