Arctic Exploration Books
Because you can't have one pole without the other.
The Arctic Grail, by Pierre Berton, © 1988.
This has been in our library since Framheim's inception. Problem is, it's damn thick. Am trudging through it slowly. So far Burton is an engaging and informative writer.
Cook & Peary: The Controversy Resolved, by Robert M. Bryce.
This rather dense and weighty (literally) book contains everything you wanted to know about the Cook-Peary dispute, providing detailed histories of both explorers. While other books on this topic have been vehemently partisan, praising one explorer while bashing the other, this book is refreshingly objective, allowing the reader to consider the evidence and draw his or her own conclusion – the most compelling being that neither man actually reached the North Pole. If this is the case, then the next candidate would be Adm. Richard Byrd, who flew over the N. Pole in 1926. However, recent doubts about his claim (See this for more on that) would pass the prize on to Roald Amundsen, who indisputably flew his airship Italia directly over the pole three days after Byrd. To this polargeek's mind, for Amundsen to have been the first man to both poles is only fitting. Readily available.
Farthest North, by Dr. Fridtjof Nansen.
A first person narrative of Nansen and Co.'s three-year odyssey in the Arctic. This is the book that taught all the other explorers how to do things right. Click here for an in-depth review. Relatively easy to find.
First Crossing of the Polar Sea, by Roald Amundsen and Lincoln Ellsworth, © 1927.
Another recent acquisition. eBay will be our downfall.
Frost on my Moustache, by Tim Moore, © 1999.
A pretty hilarious travelogue by a modern lazy guy recreating a Victorian Arctic journey. For all us armchair explorers. Easily available.
Frozen in Time, by Beattie & Geigers, © 2000.
Not a book for the faint of heart. A detailed (sometimes too detailed) account of the discovery, exhumation and autopsies of three men from the Franklin expedition. Some may be grossed out by the pictures, and sometimes the narrative of the pathologists travels get a little superfluous, but an interesting investigation into the Franklin expedition's mysterious demise and the history of those who went to find it. Very little fantastical speculation, which is something we look for in a history book. Relatively easy to find.
Ghosts of Cape Sabine, by Leonard Gutteridge, © 2000.
The story of Adolphus Greeley's under-funded, poorly-staffed, badly-led expedition to set up a scientific base in Lady Franklin Bay. Twenty five set out, only six made it back. A textbook case of how not to run an expedition. Easily available.
Nansen in the Frozen World, © 1897.
Published in the wake of Nansen's triumphant return from his "Farthest North," this copiously illustrated book devotes over half of its pages to Nansen, his life and explorations. The book's preface gives a good feel of the Nansen-mania of the times, lauding his "accurate knowledge, wonderful foresight, marvelous skill, splendid executive ability, magnificent courage and unconquerable determination…." The other half of the book contains Eivund Astrup's account of his journey with Peary across Northern Greenland, as well as an overview of "current" polar exploration, including possible locations of Andree and his party and the Belgica's recent departure from Montevideo for the Antarctic. Hard to find.
Weird and Tragic Shores, by Chauncy Loomis, © 1999.
The story of Charles Francis Hall, a guy who sounds distinctly not cut out for polar exploration. Kind of like us.