Arctic exploration has been more than heroic explorers struggling with the frozen unknown. The stories behind the adventures and adventurers make up the main thread of this book. The author carries these stories into the the less well-traveled territory of the offices and conference rooms of national capitals where political powers mustered funding - and saw different motives in - the treks of the great explorers. While the popular press conveyed the sense of great adventure, the private political memoranda discussed the geopolitical implications of exploring the Arctic. Now that some scientist predict that the Arctic ocean will be ice-free in summertime by the mid-twentyfirst century, the interest of nation states in the Arctic will only increase. This volume will provide excellent background for future developments.