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Ultimate Travel Library—Polar Regions

* Indicates a book that appears in our feature "Around the World in 80+ Books" published in the April 2002 issue of National Geographic Traveler.

*Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape, by Barry Lopez (1986). Lopez is dreamy, and his meditation on the "last frontiers" of the Arctic is as much about natural history as it is about human landscapes of imagination, desire, and progress. This National Book Award-winner is based on his travels throughout the North, including Baffin Island, Canada's Northwest Territories, and Greenland.

*Last Places: A Journey in the North, by Lawrence Millman (1990). Energetic, footloose, and chatty, Millman has penned a transcendent yet earthy (rich in irony and attitude) narrative about his journey along ancient Viking sea routes from Norway to Newfoundland.

The Long Exile, by Melanie McGrath (2006). Many people have heard of the Cherokee Trail of Tears—the forced relocation of the Cherokee people to a land thousands of miles from their home. Less well-known is the 1953 Inuit relocation, by the Canadian government, which sent three dozen Inuit 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) north of their homeland to fend for themselves on Ellesmere Island, one of Earth's northernmost landmasses—a barren piece of shale and ice that sits in darkness four months a year. It is here that the Inuit must somehow survive, and McGrath's documents their story with and engaging passion.

The Solitude of Thomas Cave, by Georgina Harding (2006). In this debut novel, Harding tells the strange tale of a 17th-century whaler (Thomas Cave) who, accepting a wager, endures a winter in the Arctic, alone. With only his journal and rations to remind him of civilization, the greatest threat of the harsh winter is not the ice storms or the cold, but that the barren and empty north sends Thomas deep into his own mind.

Terra Antarctica: Looking into the Emptiest Continent, by William L. Fox (2007). Chronicling his three-month journey cross the Antarctic, Fox paints portraits of the hardy souls who live and work in Antarctica at places like McMurdo Station, as well as the landscapes and weather conditions that make Antarctica "the windiest, coldest, highest, and driest continent on Earth."

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