The Inuit do not represent a very large population, only 160,000 or so, spread over a very large portion of the Arctic region and located in four different countries. This means that, although a “people,” there are many variations from one group to the next and any study of them must consider both the similarities and differences. This is done amazingly well by the Historical Dictionary of the Inuit. It introduces us to the Inuit, as they actually are and not as they have been traditionally pictured and some would still like to see them, looking after their traditional chores and engaged in time-honored practices but rather as a modern people trying to shape their worlds in their own interest.
This is now the second edition and it has definitely become larger, and also more up-to-date than before. The chronology already shows this, adding events that occurred over the past decade. The introduction then provides a broader view, explaining who the Inuit are, where they live, and what they do. But it is the dictionary section which is most interesting, with many more informative entries on persons, places, events and institutions, shedding light not only on the culture but also the society, economy, and politics. For those seeking further information, there is a considerably expanded bibliography. This book is thus of interest not only to researchers but anyone who wants to know more about a people we think we are familiar with but more as they used to be than as they are today