This thoroughgoing investigation may not clinch all its arguments about Alaska, but it is a truly exciting, substantive book--combining the Ice Palace mystique with an array of data the journalist authors gleaned partly through pungent interviews. Since the 1968 discovery of tremendous North Slope oil reserves, the battle has sharpened among Alaska's ""supergrowthers,"" their quality-of-life antagonists, and those--like the present governor, Jay Hammond--who advocate controlled, pay-its-own-way development of resources. The oil fights center around the pipeline route, the potential damage to the fishing industry, and the question of what a tiny population will do with the massive royalties it accrues despite the state's failure to get the most advantageous terms from the oil companies. But there is more at stake--vast deposits of coal, copper, and uranium, as well as the still-unresolved routing of natural gas. The authors advocate an emphasis on ""renewable resources"" instead--agriculture as well as fishing and timber; in the course of their discussion, they give a lively sense of their ""Boomer"" opponents, especially business-linked Bob Atwood of the Anchorage Times and Teamster chief Jess Carr, fast becoming ""one of the most potent forces"" in the state. Less colorful but almost as crucial, according to Hanrahan and Gruenstein, are the Japanese investors who could make Alaska into ""a virtual resource colony of Japan."" And most ironic is the attitude of the native-Alaskan corporations, formed after the oil companies helped force favorable land settlements for the Indians, who now show marked signs of ""big business"" mentality. More than a special-interest exposÃ‰, this is an admirably etched map of an impressive place and period.