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The Man Who Ate His Boots

The Tragic History of the Search for the Northwest Passage

Anthony Brandt

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Description

After the triumphant end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the British took it upon themselves to complete something they had been trying to do since the sixteenth century: find the fabled Northwest Passage. For the next thirty-five years the British Admiralty sent out expedition after expedition to probe the ice-bound waters of the Canadian Arctic in search of a route, and then, after 1845, to find Sir John Franklin, the Royal Navy hero who led the last of these Admiralty expeditions. Enthralling and often harrowing, The Man Who Ate His Boots captures the glory and the folly of this ultimately tragic enterprise.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Publishers Weekly Review

Feb 01, 2010 – In this engrossing chronicle of arctic exploration, Brandt (Reality Police: The Experience of Insanity in America) follows the many expeditions launched by the British navy in the 19th century to find a sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the maze of islands north of the Canadian mainland. He treats the story as an exercise in majestic futility: ship after ship became trapped in the region's labyrinthine, perpetually ice-clogged waters, dispatched by naval officials who believed that the Arctic Ocean was ice-free beyond its frozen rim. Sailors braved immense ice floes that squeezed and crushed their ships; summer overland treks featured mosquito swarms that blotted out the sun; everyone faced the likelihood of frostbite, scurvy, and starvation. Brandt pens a colorful narrative full of gothic horrors, quiet daring, and petty personality clashes, and probes the social meaning of these odysseys: to the explorers and the public that idolized them, the tacit point, he suggests, was to court danger as a proof of British grit and resolve. The result is a gripping—and sometimes appalling—tale of heroism and hubris.
The Man Who Ate His Boots
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: Mar 02, 2010
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 464 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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