Tundra: Selections from the Great Accounts of Arctic Land Voyages

Farley Mowat, Author Peregrine Smith Books $12.95 (415p) ISBN 978-0-87905-372-7
Mowat's ( Never Cry Wolf ) third volume in his Top of the World trilogy on arctic exploration presents 10 selections from journals of extraordinary men who scoured the Canadian tundra. Neatly editing for a popular audience, Mowat amplifies the texts with minimal intrusion. In the earliest account here (1769-1772), Samuel Hearne describes an almost 5000-mile trek, and trains his eye on the Indians who accompany him--their cookery and customs, including a self-preservation tactic where a sick squaw is left behind to fend for herself, and their bloody ambush of the slumbering Eskimo foe. Later that century, Alexander Mackenzie fails to find a route to the Pacific Ocean but discovers the major river now bearing his name. During WW I, Mounties search the tundra, investigating the disappearance of two Belgian missionaries. In the 1920s, Edgar Christian, fresh from English public school, intends to spend a winter on the plains with his eccentric cousin, trapper John Hornby. Christian's journal relates desolation, cold and an excruciatingly slow death by starvation that claims the entire party. Illustrated. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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