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Disaster at the Pole: The Crash of the Airship Italia
     

Disaster at the Pole: The Crash of the Airship Italia

by Wilbur Cross
 

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In 1926, General Umberto Nobile, one of Italy's premier aeronautical engineers, gained acclaim by crossing the North Pole in a dirigible, accompanied by the famous Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. Encouraged by his success, Nobile decided in 1928 to lead another airship expedition to the Pole.
But on the Italia's return flight, disaster struck. The ship crashed

Overview

In 1926, General Umberto Nobile, one of Italy's premier aeronautical engineers, gained acclaim by crossing the North Pole in a dirigible, accompanied by the famous Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. Encouraged by his success, Nobile decided in 1928 to lead another airship expedition to the Pole.
But on the Italia's return flight, disaster struck. The ship crashed down hundreds of miles from help. The survivors, including the injured Nobile, were stranded on an unstable ice floe, desperately trying to make radio contact with the outside world. Their disappearance inspired one of the most far-reaching rescue missions ever undertaken, and many of the searchers met disaster themselves - Amundsen among them.
Drawing on interviews he conducted with Nobile and other survivors, Wilbur Cross brings to life the struggles of the crewmen during their nearly two months on the ice, including the fate of three men who set off on a doomed trek to reach help. Cross also reveals the truth of the controversy surrounding Nobile, who was vilified by Italy's fascist government. Filled with intrigue, heroics and cruel twists of fate, Disaster at the Pole recounts one of the most fascinating and bizarre polar tragedies.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is an intriguing, at times even heart-stopping, account of an almost-forgotten aviation disaster: a race to fly a dirigible to the North Pole, land the airship and then return to civilization. Led by Umberto Nobile, the Italian aeronautic engineer and airship designer who had crossed the North Pole in a dirigible just two years earlier, the crew of the airship Italia suddenly crashed and was stranded in the frozen north as an international team of rescuers tried, initially unsuccessfully, to save the few survivors. Cross, a former editor at Life magazine, spent more than 30 years researching the crash and its aftermath (interviewing the few living survivors, including Nobile, who had kept copious records, even while fighting against starvation at the North Pole); however, the detail never overwhelms an exciting, well-wrought story. What makes this work stand out among other tales of harrowing heroism is its political intrigue and Cross's deft handling of this added complexity. His presentation of Nobile's overtly unwilling participation in the Fascist reign of Benito Mussolini, as well as the power struggles among the Fascisti for control of what was seen as the next great aviation powerhouse, adds a sad depth and pertinent humanity to Nobile's personal and professional ordeal. His "very real human flaws were greatly accentuated by the circumstances" of living in Italy during the 1920s and 1930s. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In 1925, the renowned Italian aeronautical engineer and explorer Umberto Nobile flew over the North Pole in a dirigible, at the time a considerable feat both of engineering and scientific inquiry. All went well, and in 1928 Nobile attempted to repeat the feat, this time planning on stopping at the pole and landing parties. Unfortunately, Nobile was no longer in favor with the increasingly strident Fascist government and faced many political and physical obstacles. However, he managed to get the expedition airborne and reached the pole safely. On the return leg, the airship foundered in foul weather, stranding the survivors on the icecap. A bizarre tragedy ensued, with searchers from many nations looking for Nobile while the Italian support ship conspicuously failed to participate. A nearly forgotten episode comes to life in this popular history by Cross, a prolific author and former editor at Life. Interesting but probably not vital to public library collections.--Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Booknews
In 1926, General Umberto Nobile gained acclaim by crossing the Pole in a dirigible, and in 1926 took a dirigible to the North Pole to land a scientific research team. The ship crashed on the return flight, hundreds of miles from help. This account tells of the crash and the international efforts to rescue the explorers, bringing to life the struggles of the survivors, the heroism and tragedy of rescuers, and political intrigue surrounding the adventure. Cross, a former editor at , runs an editorial consulting and writing firm. The book is not indexed. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585744961
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
04/28/2002
Pages:
326
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.78(d)

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