COLD BURIAL: A True Story of Endurance and Disaster

Clive Powell-Williams, Author . St. Martin's $24.95 (264p) ISBN 978-0-312-28854-9

Powell-Williams reconstructs the doomed 1927 expedition of renowned adventurer Jack Hornby to Canada's Northwest Territories, using the diary of his 18-year-old cousin and fellow traveler, Edgar Christian. Hornby was part of a wealthy, aristocratic family whose lifestyle he rejected. On a trip home to attend his father's funeral, Hornby so captivated his young cousin with romantic tales of the wilderness that Christian soon begged Hornby to allow him on a trip to the Barren Lands of the Northwest Territories. This was a return trip for Hornby, then in his mid-40s, to the harsh, uninhabited land (temperatures of –30 degrees Fahrenheit were not unusual). Yet according to the author, Hornby, driven by an exaggerated sense of his invincibility and distracted by an unrequited love affair, prepared badly for the trip. He mistakenly decided not to take sled dogs, traveled with inadequate food and clothing, and miscalculated the availability of caribou for hunting. Christian's diary, found two years later along with three dead bodies (Hornby's friend Howard Adlard had also joined them) in the rough cabin they built, describes how the men were critically weakened by starvation and cold. As the last survivor, Christian provided a harrowing account of the deaths of Hornby and then Adlard before the diary broke off. In the end, Hornby's is an arresting story of a reckless wilderness gamble that did not pay off. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/07/2002
Release date: 02/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-312-30255-9
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4668-6979-0
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