Edward Itta, the sixty-two-year-old mayor of Barrow, Alaska, is all that stands between Big Oil and an offshore deposit that the US Geologic Survey believes could rival Saudi Arabia. Peter Slaiby is a forty-five-year-old Vanderbilt University grad and a rising star at Shell thanks to his ability to win over locals from Brunei to Brazil. His latest mission is to build an offshore rig in the same ancestral waters where Itta still hunts whales in an open boat every spring. This dance between the lure of petrodollars and the old Eskimo ways is playing out against the backdrop of the melting of the polar ice cap, the opening of the Northwest Passage to shipping, and Russia making undersea land grabs close to the US border.
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