The Arctic World


256 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-919493-54-8





Reviewed by William A. Waiser

Bill Waiser is a professor of history at the University of Saskatchewan,
and the author of Saskatchewan’s Playground: A History of Prince
Albert National Park and Park Prisoners: The Untold Story of Western
Canada’s National Parks, 1915–1946.  His


The Arctic World is a lavishly illustrated Sierra Club publication on the circumpolar North. Although boasting an impressive contributors’ list of Arctic specialists, the book is largely the work of Fred Bruemmer, in particular his camera. In fact, The Arctic World is actually three books in one.

Pant One, “A Land Molded by Ice,” is a personal memoir by Bruemmer that explores a wide range of topics from the image of the North and its ecology to early exploration and expansion into the region and the history of economic activity. Comprising almost two-thirds of the book and written in a clear, lucid style, this section is essentially a celebration of the land and its natural and human heritage. Parts Two and Three, on the other hand, have been prepared by acknowledged Arctic experts and consist of short, informative chapters on the land (“The Arctic Wilderness”) and its people (“People of the Far North”). Narrower in scope but equally well written, these two sections complement and expand upon Bruemmer’s musings. What makes The Arctic World distinctive, however, are the seven magnificent photographic essays interspersed throughout the book. Vibrant, richly detailed, alternately dramatic and delicate, the pictures constitute a book in themselves. Indeed, Bruemmer’s unrivalled creative artistry makes The Arctic World one of the finest books of its kind.


Bruemmer, Fred, “The Arctic World,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 19, 2024,