OSU Libraries | OSU Home

Frigid Embrace

Politics, Economics, and Environment in Alaska

Stephen Haycox

Cover photograph by Kevin Smith.

Culture and Environment in the Pacific West

6 × 9 inches. Index. 192 pages.

2002. ISBN 978-0-87071-536-5. Paperback, $21.95.

Since the arrival of white settlers, Alaska has been dependent on the development of successive natural resources- fur, then gold, salmon, copper, timber, and now oil. In Frigid Embrace, Stephen Haycox explores how the drive to extract natural resources has shaped Alaskans' understanding of nature and their relationships with the region's Native people.

Vast, wild, and remote, Alaska has long been perceived as the last American frontier, where adventurous, self-reliant settlers could carve a new life through sweat and sheer strength of will. The truth is, however, that Alaska is supported by the highest per capita federal spending in the nation. And rather than escaping the consumer-oriented urban culture of mainstream America, Alaskan settlers have replicated it on the last frontier.

Frigid Embrace offers a revealing look at the social and political impact of Alaska's economic dependence, with chapters devoted to milestones such as the discovery of the Prudhoe Bay oil field and the Exxon Valdez debacle. It presents for a wide audience a compelling account of Alaska's colonial struggles and offers a key to understanding the historical roots of current environmental controversies.

Member of AAUP