Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ghosts of Cape Sabine by Leonard F. Guttridge

First sentence:

"It was 18 September, 1883."


"Twenty-five men went north. Only six returned alive.

In July 1881, an expedition compose mainly of American soldiers sailed off to establish a scientific base in the remote Arctic region of Lady Franklin Bay. What happened afterward is a remarkable saga of human achievement and human frailty, of heroism, hardship, bad luck and worse judgment. Compounded by deliberate political negligence back home, especially on the part of Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln, son of the late president, and increasingly fierce dissension in its own camp, the expedition's fate, and that of its would-be rescuers, eventually encompassed starvation, mutiny, suicide, shipwreck, execution. . . and cannibalism.

The story has been only partly known, and full of dark riddles, but more than seven years of research by acclaimed historian Leonard Guttridge have uncovered journals, letters, diaries, and other documentary material that for the first time provide intimate day-by-day details of the swirling events surrounding that ill-fated voyage, from turbulent birth to bizarre and tragic finale. The result is a work of nonfiction narrative that reads like a novel--a raw, vivid, harrowing adventure, brilliantly told." -- from the inside flap.

My thoughts:

Last year I read North by Roger Hubank, a fictional account of the Greely expedition. Afterwards, I wanted to read an historical account of the Greeley expedition. In this book, I learned more about problems with the first two relief attempts. I liked Guttridge's detailed end notes describing the sources from institutions such as the National Archives and the Library of Congress.

Date read: 3/12/2013
Book #: 6
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: History

ISBN-10: 0399145893
ISBN-13: 9780399145896
Publisher:G.P. Putnam's Sons
Year: 2000
# of pages: 354
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page

No comments: