Selected one of the "Best of the Best" books by the American Library Association in 2004.
"[A] unique and seminal work of impeccable and ground breaking scholarship . . . an exceptionally welcome contribution to Native American Studies reference collections in general."
â€“Midwest Book Review
"Discovering technologies appropriate to the planet's harshest environments plumbs the depths of human brilliance. The authors describe Arctic rigors and how comfortable life could be in dwellings of sod, wood, ice, stone, leather, and bone...and readers will enjoy stirring accounts of doings within them. Recommended for all levels. " â€“CHOICE
The architecture of Eskimo peoples represents a diversified and successful means of coping with one of the most severe climates humankind can inhabit. The popular image of the igloo is but one of the many structures examined by experts Lee and Reinhardt in the first book-length and arctic-wide study of this remarkable subject.
Lavishly illustrated with historic and contemporary photographs, drawings, and maps, this volume includes a comprehensive survey of the historical literature on Eskimo architecture around the circumpolar north. Lee and Reinhardt also draw on their own extensive fieldwork to present an extended comparative analysis of the geographic, climatic, and ethnographic aspects of material from four Arctic subregions: Greenland; the Central Arctic; the Northwest Arctic and Bering Strait; and Southwest Alaska, the Bering Sea, Siberia, and the Gulf of Alaska. In an innovative consideration of both material and cultural aspects of dwelling, they and the peoples they describe redefine the very meaning of "architecture."
While scholars of the circumpolar north will welcome the meticulous research of this benchmark study, its clear and fluent prose and abundant illustrations make an engrossing read for specialists and nonspecialists alike.
Molly Lee is curator of ethnology at the University of Alaska Museum and professor of anthropology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Gregory A. Reinhardt is professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology, and director of archeology for the Archeology and Forensics Laboratory at the University of Indianapolis.