Matthew Henson: The Quest for the North Pole (Sterling Biographies Series)

Overview

He risked the great unknown…and became the first man to reach the North Pole. But it took decades for the cloud of racism to lift and give African-American explorer Matthew Henson the rightful recognition for his extraordinary achievements. Here is the story of Henson’s dramatic, groundbreaking life.

Matthew began his travels as a ship’s cabin boy, but it was his partnership with Robert E. Peary that made history. Although he acted as the team’s indispensable carpenter, hunter, ...

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Overview

He risked the great unknown…and became the first man to reach the North Pole. But it took decades for the cloud of racism to lift and give African-American explorer Matthew Henson the rightful recognition for his extraordinary achievements. Here is the story of Henson’s dramatic, groundbreaking life.

Matthew began his travels as a ship’s cabin boy, but it was his partnership with Robert E. Peary that made history. Although he acted as the team’s indispensable carpenter, hunter, navigator, and interpreter, his crucial role in the expedition went largely unacknowledged. Kathleen Olmstead, the adaptor of several Classic Starts® novels, captures all the adventure, danger, and thrills involved in reaching the top of the world

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Keri Collins Lewis
Born soon after the end of the Civil War, Matthew Henson's life was marked by prejudice, yet he did not allow the color of his skin to interfere with his dream of exploring the globe. While working in a hat store, Henson met the man who would change the course of his life, Robert E. Peary. Their first adventure was surveying Nicaragua for a potential canal. Then, Peary began his quest to be the first man to reach the North Pole, and Henson proved himself indispensable to the explorer. From 1891 to 1909, Peary, Henson and various other men worked as a team to refine their approach to traversing Greenland. Henson devoted himself to learning the skills and language of the native people, the Inuit. Multiple times, if it were not for his adept hunting skills, repair of the sleds, and ability to navigate, all would have been lost. Upon reaching the North Pole, Peary began treating Henson less as a valued colleague and more as a threat. Peary refused to allow Henson to use his personal photographs or journals to make a living as a speaker once they returned to America, and it was only years after their accomplishment that Henson began to get proper recognition for his contributions to the expeditions. While discrimination based on his skin color was certainly a major factor in this injustice—Henson was often referred to as Peary's black manservant—Peary's ego and selfishness were also critical factors. Author Kathleen Olmstead maintains tension throughout the drawn-out polar expeditions and offers a balanced treatment of the controversy surrounding Henson's contributions. A variety of illustrations, one-page special-focus articles, timeline, glossary, extensive bibliography and anindex make this a valuable addition to school and public libraries. Reviewer: Keri Collins Lewis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402744419
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 8/5/2008
  • Series: Sterling Biographies Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 385,513
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents


Introduction: To Reach the North Pole     1
Henson's Story Begins     2
New Adventure in Nicaragua     11
The North Greenland Expedition     18
The Trek Begins     34
A Second Expedition to Greenland     44
Difficult Years in the North     53
The Find at Cape York     61
Making a Home in the North     67
Back in America     79
The New Peary System     85
One Last Chance to Reach the Pole     93
Returning Home     104
A Slow but Sure Legacy     109
Glossary     118
Bibliography     119
Source Notes     120
Image Credits     122
About the Author     122
Index     123
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