Tip of the Iceberg by Mark Adams

Tip of the Iceberg

Tip of the Iceberg is a fascinating and humorous journey into Alaska, America’s last frontier, retracing the historic 1899 Harriman Expedition.

The author, Mark Adams, armed with Dramamine and an industrial-strength mosquito net, sets out to retrace the expedition’s itinerary north through Wrangell, Juneau, and Glacier Bay, then continuing west into the colder and stranger regions of the Aleutians and the Arctic Circle. Along the way, he encounters dozens of unusual characters and investigates how lessons learned in 1899 might relate to Alaska’s current struggles in adapting to climate change.

In 1899, railroad magnate Edward H. Harriman organized a most unusual summer voyage to the wilds of Alaska. He converted a steamship into a luxury “floating university,” populated by some of America’s best and brightest scientists and writers, including the anti-capitalist eco-prophet John Muir.

Those aboard encountered a land of immeasurable beauty and impending environmental calamity. More than a hundred years later, Alaska is still America’s most sublime wilderness, both the lure that draws a million tourists annually on Inside Passage cruises and a natural resources larder waiting to be raided. As ever, it remains a magnet for weirdos and dreamers.

The main themes of the book include adventure, history, science, and environmentalism. The author’s witty and engaging writing style makes the book an enjoyable read for anyone interested in Alaska, its history, and its unique environment. The book also highlights the importance of preserving Alaska’s natural beauty and resources for future generations.

What I Liked

I liked the setting and how the book uses a historical journey as a parallel to frame the adventure.

What I Did Not Like

It’s a pretty forgettable book. There was never a good hook or story to remember the book by.

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