"Russell Potter does an excellent job of describing and analyzing public enthusiasm for visual representation of the Arctic . . . he connects the successes, tribulations, and failures of explorers with accounts of how . . . presentations . . . were imagined, assembled, promoted, and received."
"."One of the most notable features of Arctic Spectacles is its emphasis on the transatlantic culture of entertainment as far as stories about exploration were concerned. National myths and obsessions certainly abound and are here demonstrated in accounts of the expeditions of John Ross, Elisha Kent Kane, and many others . ."
"This is a scholarly, extremely well-written book . . . . [that] is pleasing to the eye in many senses . . . . In addition to being a fascinating contribution to the study of the history of arctic exploration, the book is a welcome addition to the study of images, whether literal or metaphorical, and should be enjoyed by all those interested in the Arctic, or 'The Frozen North.' ."
-Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research
"In Potter's capable hands, the relationships between public art, exhibit technology, and the lure of gaining hegemony over northern landscapes are woven together compellingly, suggesting that realistic art played an important role in the history of the Arctic."
-Pacific Historical Review
"Potters fine study-the work of over a decade's research and collecting-forcefully shows how the Arctic imagination in the nineteenth century was constructed through a visual vocabulary sourced in the aesthetic of the sublime, but directed also, under the pressure of historical events, towards melodrama, horror, sensationalism, and voyeuristic curiosity."
-Journal of Popular Culture
"It is the evolution of Arctic imagery that Russell Potter traces in a narrative tinged with an artistic bent and the literary skills of the English professor that he is. . . . Both the casual reader and the scholar will find Arctic Spectacles revealing and thought-provoking."
"A well-written book that fills a little-known area in studies of both Victorian culture and Arctic history. Recommended."
"Russell Potter traces the story of the long, drawn-out exploration of the Northwest Passage and the early quest to reach the North Pole. Potter paints the visual pictures of the Arctic by gathering letters, diaries, cartoons, sketches, and even playbills and newspaper articles to show the Arctic in all of its beauty and savage glory. He uses full-color plates of the era to create a visual history of the mysterious, untamable frozen North. He has created a work that is conceptually unique in its handling of the polar passion to explore the nineteenth century Arctic."
-Barbara Bertoldo, The American Association of School Librarians, 2008
"Potter closely analyzes the range of this peculiarly Victorian fascination, covering the complete range of literary and visual efforts...works that focused on sensational death above all, and the relatively few works that captured the beauty of the arctic apart from the misunderstandings and myths. The illustrations here are especially well-chosen, so much so that readers may need to put on a sweater."