The Arctic is the northernmost region on Earth, defined by scientists as the area within the Arctic Circle, a line of latitude about 66.5° north of the Equator. That circle at the top of the world includes the Arctic Ocean and a few bits of land: northern parts of Russia, the state of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and the northern tips of Norway, Sweden, and Finland.
Teeming with wildlife — polar bears, puffins, whales, seals, arctic foxes, and narwhals — the land and sea blend, ice reaching to the horizon and the sky in vast stretches of blue and white. It can seem quite romantic, this part of the globe with months of darkness and light at opposite ends of the calendar.
But as history tells, it’s also perilously dangerous, a place where humans are likely to lose their way, to freeze, or to simply disappear.
In this episode, we take a quick romp through the Arctic expeditions of the 19th century and get curious about the archipelago of Svalbard (150 islands off the coast of Norway). Then we discuss five books that transported us to the Arctic Circle, including lyrical nonfiction, adventure tales, and one ghost story that would make the bravest soul shake in their fur-lined boots. (show notes / transcript)
Top image courtesy of Vladimir Melnik/Shutterstock.
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