The best out of the ordinary books about the north

Lawrence Millman Author Of At the End of the World: A True Story of Murder in the Arctic
By Lawrence Millman

The Books I Picked & Why

A Woman in the Polar Night

By Christiane Ritter

A Woman in the Polar Night

Why this book?

I’m recommending it for several reasons. First, it’s a splendid read. Second, it presents a view of the Arctic from a woman’s rather than a man’s point of view – not a common thing, at least not in the 1930s, when the book was written.   Third, I felt so strongly about the book’s merits that I got it back into print and wrote an introduction to it, too. 


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True North: A Journey Into Unexplored Wilderness

By Elliott Merrick

True North: A Journey Into Unexplored Wilderness

Why this book?

It’s a richly lyrical, indeed Thoreauvian account of life in Labrador in the late 1920s. Among other things, the author and his life go on a long trek in the dead of winter and experience a remarkably different way of life – and mostly a rewarding one – from their previous way of life down south. I might add that the now-deceased author was a dear friend of mine.


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The Golden Grindstone: One Man's Adventures in the Yukon (Arctic Adventure)

By Angus Graham

The Golden Grindstone: One Man's Adventures in the Yukon (Arctic Adventure)

Why this book?

I’m recommending this book because I think it’s the best book ever written about the Klondike Gold Rush. During his numerous adventures, the main character, George Mitchell, finds something far more valuable than gold. The book was so little known that I felt obliged to get it back into print as well as write an introduction to the reissue.


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Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic

By Marla Cone

Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic

Why this book?

This is a book whose relationship with toxic chemicals in the Arctic is much the same as the relationship Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring has with toxic chemicals down south. Ms. Cone does an expert job of documenting how these chemicals have gotten into the Arctic’s food web and affected wildlife as well as the Arctic’s Native peoples.


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Snow Man: John Hornby in the Barren Lands

By Malcolm Waldron

Snow Man: John Hornby in the Barren Lands

Why this book?

Snow Man offers a portrait of John Hornby, an Arctic adventurer who had no interest in being the first person to visit the North Pole or traverse the Northwest Passage, but who simply wanted to hang out in the Arctic in order to experience both hardships and delight. The book’s story deals with Hornby’s overwintering in an esker in the Central Canadian Arctic with a total novice, an Englishman named Critchell-Bullock. This 1931 book had been neglected, so I got it back into print and I wrote an introduction to it.


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