Lost Beneath the Ice: The Story of HMS Investigator

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Overview

When Sir John Franklin disappeared in the Arctic in the 1840s, the British Admiralty launched the largest rescue mission in its history. Among the search vessels was HMS Investigator, which left England in 1850 under the command of Captain Robert McClure. While the ambitious McClure never found Franklin, he and his crew did discover the fabled Northwest Passage.

Like Franklin's ships, though, Investigator disappeared in the most remote, bleak and unknown place on Earth. For ...

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Lost Beneath the Ice: The Story of HMS Investigator

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Overview

When Sir John Franklin disappeared in the Arctic in the 1840s, the British Admiralty launched the largest rescue mission in its history. Among the search vessels was HMS Investigator, which left England in 1850 under the command of Captain Robert McClure. While the ambitious McClure never found Franklin, he and his crew did discover the fabled Northwest Passage.

Like Franklin's ships, though, Investigator disappeared in the most remote, bleak and unknown place on Earth. For three winters, its 66 souls were trapped in the unforgiving ice of Mercy Bay. They suffered cold, darkness, starvation, scurvy, boredom, depression and madness. When they were rescued in 1853, Investigator was abandoned.

For more than a century and a half, the ship's fate remained a mystery. Had it been crushed by the ice or swept out to sea? In 2010, Parks Canada sent a team of archaeologists to Mercy Bay to find out. It was a formidable challenge, demanding expertise and patience. There, off the shores of Aulavik National Park, they found Investigator.

Lost Beneath the Ice is a tale of endurance, daring, deceit, courage, and irony. It is a story about a tempestuous crew, their mercurial captain, cynical surgeon and kind-hearted missionary. In the end, McClure found fame but lost his ship, some of his crew and much of his honour. Written with elegance and authority, illustrated with archival imagery and startling underwater photographs of Investigator and its artifacts, this is a sensational story of discovery and intrigue in Canada's Arctic.

Andrew Cohen is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. Among his books are While Canada Slept, a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award, The Unfinished Canadian, and Extraordinary Canadians: Lester B. Pearson. He writes a nationally syndicated column for The Ottawa Citizen and comments regularly on CTV. A professor of journalism and international affairs at Carleton University, he is founding president of the Historica-Dominion Institute. He has twice received Queen's Jubilee Medals.

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Editorial Reviews

whatifknits.com
"That sense of our own smallness also comes across in Lost Beneath the Ice in the pictures of some of the artifacts recovered from the Investigator, particularly the single leather shoe that somehow survived more than a century under Canadian ice. Imagine the foot in the shoe, the man attached to the foot, the ship that man sailed on, the endless, yet insufficient, rations that man ate while his ship was trapped in the ice for nearly two years. Our endurance and our hubris are staggering."
arcticbookreview.com
…there's no other book of its kind that so dramatically evokes the hazards of Arctic navigation in the nineteenth century. I certainly can't imagine a more welcome holiday gift for any exploration buffs on one's list.
Winnipeg Free Press
…belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in Arctic history and exploration.
From the Publisher
"That sense of our own smallness also comes across in Lost Beneath the Ice in the pictures of some of the artifacts recovered from the Investigator, particularly the single leather shoe that somehow survived more than a century under Canadian ice. Imagine the foot in the shoe, the man attached to the foot, the ship that man sailed on, the endless, yet insufficient, rations that man ate while his ship was trapped in the ice for nearly two years. Our endurance and our hubris are staggering."

there's no other book of its kind that so dramatically evokes the hazards of Arctic navigation in the nineteenth century. I certainly can't imagine a more welcome holiday gift for any exploration buffs on one's list.

belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in Arctic history and exploration.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459719491
  • Publisher: Dundurn Press
  • Publication date: 12/10/2013
  • Pages: 152
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Cohen is a journalist and professor of journalism and international affairs at Carleton University. His best-selling books include While Canada Slept, a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award, and The Unfinished Canadian. He writes a syndicated column with Postmedia Newspapers and is a regular commentator on TV. He lives in Ottawa.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 26, 2014

    This is a story about a ship the HMS Investigator was sent on a

    This is a story about a ship the HMS Investigator was sent on a mission to find Sir John Franklin who was lost at sea.The Investigator's Captain Robert McClure had his own agenda, he never found Sir John but he did find the Northwest Passage. This book tells the story of the hardships suffered by the Investigators crew and officers, while they were stuck in the ice for three winters.
    The ship remained a mystery for a century and a half until in 2010 when the Parks Canada sent a team to find it. This was a well told story and the research was excellent.
    Thanks to Net Galley and Dundurn for allowing me to read this book.

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