To the Pole: The Diary and Notebook of Richard E. Byrd, 1925-1927

Overview

On May 9, 1926, Richard E. Byrd announced to the world that he and copilot Floyd Bennett were the first to fly an airplane over the North Pole. Documents published here for the first time provide new insights into this most controversial accomplishment of Byrd's career. To the Pole presents transcriptions of Byrd's handwritten diary and notebook, which were discovered by Ohio State University archivist Raimund Goerler in 1996 when he was cataloging Byrd's papers for the university. In his diary Byrd recorded his ...
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1998 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 161 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. 1350

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Overview

On May 9, 1926, Richard E. Byrd announced to the world that he and copilot Floyd Bennett were the first to fly an airplane over the North Pole. Documents published here for the first time provide new insights into this most controversial accomplishment of Byrd's career. To the Pole presents transcriptions of Byrd's handwritten diary and notebook, which were discovered by Ohio State University archivist Raimund Goerler in 1996 when he was cataloging Byrd's papers for the university. In his diary Byrd recorded his preparations for the North Pole flight, and he used it as a message pad to communicate with his pilot when the deafening noise from the plane's engines rendered verbal communication impossible. Byrd also wrote his navigational calculations on the leaves of his diary, and photographs of these crucial pages are presented in the book as well, along with a copy of Byrd's official report on the expedition to the National Geographic Society. Also included in the book are portions of the diary dealing with Byrd's earlier expedition to Greenland and his flight across the Atlantic in 1927. Goerler has written an introduction and epilogue providing historical context for Byrd's achievements and biographical information on the rest of his extraordinary career. The volume is illustrated with maps and a number of photographs from the Byrd archive.
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Editorial Reviews

Malcolm W. Browne
To the Pole...helps to penetrate some of the mythology shrouding the Byrd persona, and both supporters and detractors of Byrd will relish it. -- New York Times Book Review
Booknews
While cataloging Byrd's papers in 1996, Goerler (archivist, Ohio State U.) discovered the controversial explorer's diary and notebook which he frames with maps, photographs, a chronology of Byrd's life, his 1926 North Pole navigational report, and additional readings. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
This contribution to polar historyþa contextualized and annotated reproduction of Richard Byrd's scant diary during the most important years of his lifeþfrom Ohio State University archivist Goerler will likely be of interest to only the most fanatical scholars of Arctic and Antarctic exploration. During the years covered here, Byrd conducted his path-breaking expedition to Greenland, undertook the controversial North Pole flight, and made the third transatlantic flight. He kept a rather hasty diary (Byrd admits it "is a very poor affair indeed. The most uninteresting [diary] ever written," and he's not far wrong). Goerler unearthed the journal while cataloging Byrd's papers. As Byrd scribbled his entries almost randomly, Goerler has gone to the trouble of deciphering their arrangement, setting them in chronological order, and adding explanatory notes. Each of the three expeditions gets a chapter, and each chapter is introduced by Goerler with a biographical sketch of Byrd at the time. Don't expect any earth-shattering discoveriesþthe North Pole flight remains as controversial as ever. But readers will take away a little taste of what (supposedly) transpired between Byrd and his pilot Floyd Bennett during the flight. While the airplane's engines thundered, making conversation impossible, Byrd communicated to Bennett by writing instructions in the diary and showing them to Bennett: "You must not persist in keeping too far to the right." The diary is also a reminder that not all great achievements are accompanied by nonstop thrills; the entries suggest great prairies of boredom and logisitics punctuated by flashes of intense excitement. The fact that Byrd kept thediary at all leads one to believe he had nothing to hide. Experts will pore over the sextant readings, looking for clues; most folks will dip into these pages for the brief you-were-there moments. (b&w photos)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814208007
  • Publisher: Ohio State University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1998
  • Series: URBAN LIFE and URBAN LANDSCAPE Ser.
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 161
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
The Making of an Explorer: 7
The Greenland Expedition of 1925 17
The North Pole Flight of 1926 41
The Transatlantic Flight of 1927 97
Epilogue 119
Appendix A: 133
Appendix B: 139
Additional Readings 159
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