The Quiet Limit of the World: A Journey to the North Pole to Investigate Global Warming


265 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Index
ISBN 1-55199-014-8
DDC 363.738'74





Reviewed by W.J.C. Cherwinski

W.J.C. Cherwinski is a professor of history at Memorial University of
Newfoundland and the co-author of Lectures in Canadian Labour and
Working-Class History.


In 1994, Wayne Grady was invited to accompany a team of scientists on a
5000-mile voyage across the Arctic Ocean. What was for the scientists a
fact-finding mission was for Grady an opportunity to discover how life
in the south was affecting the environment in the Far North. The nature
and prevalence of ice, the sediment on the ocean floor, the dust
particles in the top layers, and the trace elements found in the claw
and bone samples taken from tranquilized polar bears demonstrate clearly
that not only is the North no longer pristine but the apocalyptic vision
of environmental activists is a distinct possibility if preventive
measures are not taken immediately.

The author provides lucid and often fascinating explanations of the
techniques used to scrape sediment from the ocean floor, the use and
interpretation of satellite data, and the pumps used to test water
samples. Unfortunately, he covers too much ground and ends up
overwhelming the reader. We learn not only about the expedition and the
awesome beauty of the region explored but also about the backgrounds of
the various scientists and crew, and about the history of the search for
the Northwest Passage and attempts to reach the North Pole. This lack of
focus mars an otherwise engaging book.


Grady, Wayne., “The Quiet Limit of the World: A Journey to the North Pole to Investigate Global Warming,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 17, 2024,