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The irony is that the men had started out as friends and shipmates, with Frederick Cook, a physician, accompanying Robert Peary, a civil engineer with a U.S. Navy commission, on an expedition to northern Greenland in...
The irony is that the men had started out as friends and shipmates, with Frederick Cook, a physician, accompanying Robert Peary, a civil engineer with a U.S. Navy commission, on an expedition to northern Greenland in 1891. Peary's leg was shattered in a shipboard accident on the trip north, and without Cook's care he might never have walked again. But by the summer of 1909, all the goodwill had evaporated. In September 1909 Peary reported that he had reached the Pole five months earlier. But Cook, who reappeared seemingly back from the dead after a lengthy journey in the Arctic wastes with just two native companions, presented persuasive testimony that he had been the first to attain the Pole, a year earlier, in April 1908.
The feud became the preoccupation of both men for the rest of their lives. Cook was something of a loner, but Peary was a man with friends in very high places, and he wielded this influence brutally. On one occasion he refused to take aboard his ship Cook's crates of scientific instruments and polar records, thereby helping to ensure their loss. Peary's friends also paid money to induce perjury that would tarnish Cook's claim to the first ascent of Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America. And late in the century, years after both Cook and Peary were dead, a long-suppressed diary was released, causing National Geographic to conclude that one of the claimants missed the Pole entirely and subsequently perpetrated a knowing fraud.
Bruce Henderson has crafted a gripping account of the claims and counterclaims, and presents fascinating scientific and even psychological evidence to put the harrowing details of polar exploration in a new context.
|Part 1||Men of Destiny|
|Chapter 1||Call of the Northland||29|
|Chapter 2||North Greenland Expedition||42|
|Chapter 3||Arctic Tenderfoots||50|
|Chapter 4||Death on a Glacier||68|
|Chapter 5||Ruled with an Iron Hand||78|
|Chapter 6||The Snow Baby||89|
|Chapter 7||"Polar Summer Resort"||101|
|Chapter 8||Bounty Hunting||109|
|Chapter 9||Destination Antarctica||116|
|Chapter 10||The Ice Man||133|
|Chapter 11||Roof of the Continent||143|
|Chapter 12||Farthest North||156|
|Part 2||To the Pole|
|Chapter 13||"A Crazy Hunger"||173|
|Chapter 14||"I Shall Win This Time"||185|
|Chapter 15||Polar Quest||194|
|Chapter 16||"Forward! March!"||206|
|Chapter 17||"I Have Reached the Pole"||224|
|Chapter 18||"Nailed to the Pole"||244|
|Chapter 19||Seized by a "Heartsickness"||261|