The Arctic Grail: 2the Quest for the Northwest Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909

Pierre Berton, Author Viking Books $24.95 (672p) ISBN 978-0-670-82491-5
The literature of Arctic exploration teems with exciting stories of hardship, valor, conflict and mystery. There are three distinct periods of exploration: the quest for the Northwest Passage by the British Navy, the 15-year search for the lost Franklin Expedition and the attempts to reach the North Pole. Berton ( The Mysterious North ) combines these voyages into a single narrative that focuses on the explorers. We see the mindset of the British, unwilling to take advice from whalers and, for 90 years, refusing to avail themselves of the dogsleds and Eskimo clothing best suited to Arctic conditions. We follow the progression from the desire for discovery and scientific knowledge to obsession with national pride and personal ambition. Berton examines in detail the Cook-Peary controversy and concludes that both men were charlatans and neither reached the North Pole; modern scholarship supports this theory. Readers who think the ultimate adventure took place at the South Pole should rediscover the Arctic explorations. Illustrations. (October)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
Hardcover - 672 pages - 978-0-7710-1266-2
Paperback - 672 pages - 978-1-58574-116-8
Paperback - 672 pages - 978-0-14-011680-9
Paperback - 672 pages - 978-0-385-65845-4
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