The idea of the Arctic Ocean as a mediterranean sea is a shock to those of us—and that includes most of us—who cannot shake ourselves free of the Mercatorean vision. Yet this theme is repeated by many of the eminent ocntributors to this volume: as Michael Marsden states, "IT is difficult to impress upon the public and industry at large that the most essential quality of the Arctic is not cold, or gold, or polar bears, but a central position in the world community." This book, then, is about the North as a frontier, and about Canada's relations with the world beyond that frontier. It is about the Arctic community of which Canada is one of the major members, along with the Soviet Union, the United States, Denmark, Iceland, and Norway. It is also an exercise in perspective. Canadians have long been aware of the significance of their Atlantic and Pacific frontiers and of the implications of their Southern frontier. This volume points out that Canada is not a three-sided country. While it does not neglect the military importance of the Arctic, it endeavours to widen the scope of interest. But it does not present the familiar arguments about the surpassing importance of the Arctic. It deflates as well as inflates. Its purpose is to assess as precisely as possible the implications of the Arctic frontier, not to induce either visions or nightmares. It is intended not only for Canadians but for all those who are interested in the polar regions or in the shape of the world at large.
The papers in this volume were assembled in collaboration by the Canadian Institute of International Affairs and the Arctic Institute of North America.
Mr. Macdonald's well-organized symposium asks more questions that it answers, but that is no more than to say that it is a pioneering work… and one that reflects great credit on its sponsors and contributors." Times Literary Supplement
"In summary, this book is a profound treatise on the many facets of the Arctic, documented by references, quotations from legislative acts, treaties, debates, and other writings. I recommend this book to the student seeking specific information concerning such topics as sociological, economic and technological changes, the military significance, and the development and exploration of the Arctic. The general reader who is interested in world affairs will find this reading very informative.
The Arctic Frontier not unexpectedly raises far more issues than it solves, but the book is well worth the effort that went into its planning and preparation. The high quality of the essays and their distinguished sponsorship should ensure their being read where they can do the most good — that is, among policy makers in the circumpolar nations.