The Magnetic North by Sara Wheeler

About the book

Smashing through the Arctic Ocean with the crew of a Russian icebreaker, herding reindeer across the tundra with Lapps and shadowing the Trans-Alaskan pipeline with truckers, Sara Wheeler discovers a complex and ambiguous land belonging both to ancient myth and modern controversy.  The Magnetic North is a spicy confection of history, science and reflection in which Wheeler meditates on the role of the Arctic: fragmented lands which fed imaginations long before the scientists and oilmen showed up (not to mention desperado explorers who ate their own shoes). The Magnetic North tells of all this, plus gulag ghosts, old and new Russia, colliding cultures and bioaccumulated toxins in polar bears.


Reviewed by Bridewell Beauties

Reads like a series of essays. Very comprehensive and academic. Strongly divided opinions. Could be read on several levels

star rating ** ½


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1 thought on “The Magnetic North by Sara Wheeler”

  1. Reviewed by U3A Reading Group

    “This caused a lot of discussion. Covers topics such as environment, individual trips, local tribes etc”

    star rating ** *


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