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About Bathsheba Demuth
Author of FLOATING COAST: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait, Bathsheba Demuth is a historian at Brown University. She specializes in the lands and seas of the Russian and North American Arctic. Her interest in northern environments and cultures began when she was 18 and moved to the village of Old Crow in the Yukon. For over two years, she mushed huskies, hunted caribou, fished for salmon, tracked bears, and otherwise learned to survive in the taiga and tundra. In the years since, Demuth has visited Arctic communities across Eurasia and North America. From the archive to the dog sled, she is interested in how the histories of people, ideas, places, and non-human species intersect.
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Winner of the 2021 AHA John H. Dunning Prize
Longlisted for the 2020 Cundill History Prize
Named a Best Book of the Year by Nature, NPR, Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews
"A monument to a people and their land… an allegory of the world we have created." —Sven Beckert, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist Empire of Cotton: A Global History
Floating Coast is the first-ever comprehensive history of Beringia, the Arctic land and waters stretching from Russia to Canada. The unforgiving territories along the Bering Strait had long been home to humans—the Inupiat and Yupik in Alaska, and the Yupik and Chukchi in Russia—before American and European colonization. Rapidly, these frigid lands and waters became the site of an ongoing experiment: How, under conditions of extreme scarcity, would modern ideologies of capitalism and communism control and manage the resources they craved?
Drawing on her own experience living with and interviewing indigenous people in the region, Bathsheba Demuth presents a profound tale of the dynamic changes and unforeseen consequences that human ambition has brought (and will continue to bring) to a finite planet.