Furs and Frontiers in the Far North The Contest among Native and Foreign Nations for the Bering Strait Fur Trade John R. Bockstoce

The Lamar Series in Western History
Publication date:
31 Aug 2010
Yale University Press
496 pages: 235 x 156mm
42 b-w illus. + 10 maps
Sales territories:

With expert scholarship and a keen eye for detail, Bockstoce provides the first analysis of the historic competition among the Russians, British, and Americans for control of Alaska.

This comprehensive history of the native and maritime fur trade in Alaska during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is without precedent. The Bering Strait formed the nexus of the circumpolar fur trade in which Russians, British, Americans, and members of fifty native nations competed and cooperated. The desire to dominate the fur trade fed the European expansion into the most remote regions of Asia and America and was an agent of massive change in these regions.

Award-winning author John R. Bockstoce fills a major gap in the historiography of the area in covering the scientific, commercial, and foreign-relations implications of the northern fur trade. In addition, the book provides rare insight into the relationship between the Western powers and the Native Americans who provided them with fur, ivory, and whalebone in exchange for manufactured goods, tobacco, tea, alcohol, and hundreds of other things. But this is also the story of the enterprising individuals who energized the Alaskan fur trade and, in doing so, forever altered the region’s history.

Arctic specialist John R. Bockstoce is an independent scholar and the author of many books, monographs, and articles on the history of the Arctic.

"What Bockstoce has produced is a worthy companion-volume to his earlier work, Whales, Ice, and Men, which is recognized as being the definitive source on the history of American whaling in the Western arctic." - William Barr, Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary

"Furs and Frontiers in the Far North is a comprehensive history of the international trade in furs." Ernest Burch, Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

"A remarkably comprehensive book.”—Denis J.B. Shaw, Slavonic & East European Review Vol.89 No.4