The Seventh Continent: Antarctica In A Resource Age

by Deborah Shapley

Resources for the Future/Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1985

Resources for the Future/Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1985

My reporting for Science focused on the Cold War and on military issues in which US scientists were involved. I also wrote that the Nixon Administration sought to upend the 1961 Antarctic Treaty - which dedicated the region to peace and science - to promote US mineral and oil development there. Meanwhile, a movement was stirring at the United Nations to take over and share Antarctica’s presumed riches.

The Carnegie Endowment sponsored me to analyze these issues in a book that would fill a gap in US foreign policy literature. Why had the Treaty succeeded for so long? Would it survive? These questions are relevant today.


"A beautifully written summary... Her ability to cover so much material...without superficiality is astonishing."
- Eugene B. Skolnikoff
"[A] penetrating work. Hers is an intricate political tapestry woven from national pride and rivalry, glittering but transient sources of wealth, the ways of military and civil authority, and a pervasive sense of daring, adventure and discovery."
- Philip Morrison, Scientific American
"This handsome book provides timely and valuable information about the forces shaping the [A]ntarctic future. All the major players are analyzed...Shapley skillfully uses the results of original research in U.S. government archives presenting one of the most comprehensive analyses to date of the political debate among nations and environmental organizations."
- James N. Barnes, Defenders, May/June 1985


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