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GOING TO EXTREMES by Joe McGinniss (Plume: $8.95)

October 01, 1989|CHARLES SOLOMON

During the late '70s, Joe McGinniss roamed the vast expanses of Alaska, compiling this vivid memoir. His account of America's last frontier ranges from poignant to scurrilously funny. He shares his unabashed rapture at the beauty of the virgin wilderness and his disgust at the squalor of Nome. At the time he was writing, Alaska was reeling from a sudden influx of oil money. McGinniss ruefully chronicled the destruction of what remained of Eskimo culture by television and alcohol (and the hatred it engendered) as well as the incursion of technology and pollution disguised as progress. "Going to Extremes" remains an exceptional account of vanishing lives and landscapes.

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