THE FOURTH WORLD: The Heritage Of The Arctic And Its Destruction by Sam Hall

THE FOURTH WORLD: The Heritage Of The Arctic And Its Destruction

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this cogent discussion of problems in the Arctic, journalist Hall describes the life of indigenous folk, the effect of the ""marauders"" who arrived seeking gold or glory, and finally a future that seems to hold more marauding in store, with oil companies taking the lead. Among the intruders trashed here is Robert E. Peary, who claimed to be the first man to the North Pole. Hall notes that ""arrogant and selfish, Peary had little regard for the Inuit problems. Children and adults feared his ill-temper."" Moreover, his Polar claim was most likely fraudulent. In extreme old age, some of the local Inuit lndians were still afraid to criticize Peary for fear his ghost might haunt them. Meanwhile, the record today of life among the Indians is not a rosy one. An extremely high incidence of V.D. cripples the populace--""every third adult is affected, one of the highest incidences on earth."" Moreover, violent death, whether suicide or ""alcohol-induced homicide,"" is extremely common. And the Indians have only more woe to look forward to, as greedy oilers further ""rape"" their lands and destroy what remains of the original natural beauty of the area. Hall's account, although a popular narrative with no pretensions of expertise, deserves to be read with attention by those who value this threatened wilderness and its inhabitants.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1987
Publisher: Knopf