Bathsheba Demuth is writer and environmental historian specializing in the lands and seas of the Russian and North American Arctic. Her interest in northern places and cultures began when she was 18 and moved to the village of Old Crow in the Yukon, where she trained huskies for several years. From the archive to the dog sled, she is interested in how the histories of people, ideas, and ecologies intersect. In addition to her prize-winning book Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait, her writing has appeared in publications from The American Historical Review to The New Yorker and The Best American Science and Nature Writing. She is currently the Dean’s Associate Professor of History and Environment and Society at Brown University.
Floating Coast, a Best Book of the Year as chosen by Nature, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Journal, is a groundbreaking exploration of the relationship between capitalism, communism, and Arctic ecology since the dawn of the industrial age. Drawing on her own experience living with and interviewing indigenous people in the region, as well as from archival sources, Demuth shows how the social, the political, and the environmental clashed in this liminal space. Through the lens of the natural world, she views human life and economics as fundamentally about cycles of energy, bringing a fresh and visionary spin to the writing of human history.
The book is a profoundly resonant tale of the dynamic changes and unforeseen consequences that immense human needs and ambitions have brought, and will continue to bring, to a finite planet.