John R. Bockstoce
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About John R. Bockstoce
Arctic historian and archaeologist, John R. Bockstoce has been traveling and working in the North since 1962. He has carried out a series of excavations at Bering Strait and served for ten seasons as a member of an Eskimo whaling crew at Point Hope, Alaska. In the 1970s he descended the Tanana and Yukon rivers by canoe from Fairbanks to Nome and traveled along the coast from there to Barrow Strait in arctic Canada. Later he twice traversed the Northwest Passage by boat.
He is the author of many books, monographs, and articles, including Arctic Passages: A Unique Small Boat Voyage through the Great Northern Waterway(1991, 1992), Arctic Discoveries: Images from Voyages of Four Decades in the North (2000), High Latitude, North Atlantic: 30,000 Miles through Cold Seas and History (2003), and the award-winning Whales, Ice and Men: The History of Whaling in the Western Arctic (1986, 1995). The University of Alaska recently conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Science in recognition of his contributions to Arctic studies
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Titles By John R. Bockstoce
In the early twentieth century, northerners lived and trapped in one of the world’s harshest environments. At a time when government services and social support were minimal or nonexistent, they thrived on the fox fur trade, relying on their energy, training, discipline, and skills. John R. Bockstoce, a leading scholar of the Arctic fur trade who also served as a member of an Eskimo whaling crew, explores the twentieth-century history of the Western Arctic fur trade to the outbreak of World War II, covering an immense region from Chukotka, Russia, to Arctic Alaska and the Western Canadian Arctic. This period brought profound changes to Native peoples of the North. To show its enormous impact, the author draws on interviews with trappers and traders, oral and written archival accounts, research in newspapers and periodicals, and his own field notes from 1969 to the present.
With expert scholarship and a keen eye for detail, Bockstoce provides the first analysis of the historic competition among the Russians, British, and Americans for control of Alaska.
This comprehensive history of the native and maritime fur trade in Alaska during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is without precedent. The Bering Strait formed the nexus of the circumpolar fur trade in which Russians, British, Americans, and members of fifty native nations competed and cooperated. The desire to dominate the fur trade fed the European expansion into the most remote regions of Asia and America and was an agent of massive change in these regions.
Award-winning author John R. Bockstoce fills a major gap in the historiography of the area in covering the scientific, commercial, and foreign-relations implications of the northern fur trade. In addition, the book provides rare insight into the relationship between the Western powers and the Native Americans who provided them with fur, ivory, and whalebone in exchange for manufactured goods, tobacco, tea, alcohol, and hundreds of other things. But this is also the story of the enterprising individuals who energized the Alaskan fur trade and, in doing so, forever altered the region’s history.