ALASKA: Promises to Keep by Robert W. Weeden

ALASKA: Promises to Keep

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Author Weeden, Alaskan biologist, environmental advocate, and self-ordained ""dreamer of dreams,"" has fashioned a book that seems an ecologist's delight at first glance. Closer inspection, however, reveals a handbook with a scope so farreaching, and an organizational structure so poor, as to blunt the issues and make the answers appear fuzzy. He eagerly supplies the reader with hundreds of pieces of data concerning both Alaska's renewable and unrenewable resources. Unfortunately, the lengthy material on when, why, and how to keep Alaska ecologically sound, while at the same time bowing to the demands of ""progress,"" is vague and uninspiring. Weeden seems to ask the same questions, ""How big the treasure? How rich the profit? What will be built, and what destroyed?"" over and over again. He is at his worst when he attempts outrageous similes or metaphors: ""Alaskans today. . . are like caribou galloping wildly, pursued by unseen flies,"" or ""only a Merlin on an amphetamine high would try to guess Alaska's total metallic mineral wealth."" He is at his best when he states some surprising, little-known facts--noting, for instance, that Alaska ""is fiscally less sound than before oil was discovered."" On virtually every specific topic, however, Hanrahan and Gruenstein's Lost Frontier (1977) is more informative and to the point.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1978
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin