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In the tradition of Sebastian' Junger's The Perfect Storm and Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, Barren Lands is the extraordinary tale of two small-time prospectors who risked their lives to discover $17 billion worth of diamonds in the desolate tundra of the far north.
In the late 1970's, two men set out on a twenty-year search for a North American gem mine, along a fabled path that had defied 16th-century explorers, Wild West prospectors, and modern geologists. They are an unlikely pair: Chuck Fipke, a ragged, stuttering fellow with a singular talent for finding sand-size mineral grains, and Stew Blusson, an ultra-tough geologist and helicopter pilot. Inventive, eccentric and ruthless, they follow a trail of geologic clues left by predecessors all the way from backwoods Arkansas up the glaciated high Rockies into the vast and haunted "barren lands" of northern Canada. With a South African geochemist's "secret weapon," Fipke and Blusson outwit rivals, including the immense De Beers carte, and make one of the world's greatest diamond discoveries- setting off a stampede unseen since the Klondike gold rush.
A story of obsession and scientific intrigue, Barren Lands is also an elegy to one of earth's last great wild places, a starkly beautiful and mysterious land strewn with pure lakes and alive with wolves and caribou. An endless variety of primeval glacial rock formations hide copper, zinc, and gold, in addition to diamonds. Now that the barrens are "open for business," what will happen to this great wilderness region?
Barren Lands is an unforgettable journey for those who, in the words of a nineteenth-century trapper, "want to see that country before it is all gone."
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Krajick's BARREN LANDS is a brilliant, lucid, and, in parts, sensational investigation of the never-ending quest to fulfill the reality and illusion of the diamond invention.
-- Edward Jay Epstein, author of Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer and The Rise and Fall of Diamonds
This is a big, big tale, custom-made for the most robust of armchair adventurers and overgrown dreamers. Not since John McPhee has a writer made me care so much about the men who care for rocks. BARREN LANDS is bursting with life, with action played out on so many landscapes and timescales that it is breathtaking to behold
-- Marc Zabludoff, former editor in chief of Discover Magazine
A spellbinding modern-day adventure yarn - legendary lost mines, brutal physical hardships, cunning corporate spies, and narrow escapes from death, all framing the human drama of a multi-billion dollar treasure hunt. Krajick's stylish prose combines the keen eye of a scientist with the flair of a best-selling novelist.
-- Robert M. Hazen, author of The Diamond Makers
In BARREN LANDS, Kevin Krajick relates the extraordinary history of the Canadian diamond rush - a rush that is still going on. En route he offers an indelible cast of characters, from aboriginals to geologists, from independent prospectors to de Beers secretive experts, all bent on tapping a $17 billion treasure beneath the frozen tundra. This tale of avarice and ambition--every word of it true--has never been told so dramatically, or with such scrupulous attention to detail.
-- Stefan Kanfer, author of The Last Empire: de Beers, Diamonds and the World
BARREN LANDS is a true adventure story, with secrets, spies, attempted murder, mysterious fires, plane crashes, and feats of daring and courage. It is fascinating, fast-paced, and enormously enjoyable.
-- Richard A.F. Grieve, Chief Geoscientist, Natural Resources Canada
Kevin Krajick's masterful portrait conjures up adventure on the grand scale. BARREN LANDS is at once a scientific thriller, an excursion into industrial espionage and page-turning paean to obsession.
-- Kathleen Burke, Smithsonian
Kevin Krajick is a prizewinning journalist whose articles have appeared in National Geographic, Newsweek, The New York Times, Science, Discover, Audubon, Smithsonian and many other publications. He was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for Public Service and won the American Geophysical Union's 1998 Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism. He lives in New York City.
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Book Description W. H. Freeman, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # mon0000181063
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Book Description W. H. Freeman, 2001. Condition: New. BEST BUY.OFX/DD. Seller Inventory # 800503