×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

True North: Peary, Cook, and the Race to the Pole
     

True North: Peary, Cook, and the Race to the Pole

by Bruce Henderson
 

See All Formats & Editions

"Nail-biting true adventure."--Kirkus Reviews

In 1909, two men laid rival claims to this crown jewel of exploration. A century later, the battle rages still. This book is about one of the most enduring and vitriolic feuds in the history of exploration. "What a consummate cur he is," said Robert Peary of Frederick Cook in 1911. Cook responded, "Peary

Overview

"Nail-biting true adventure."--Kirkus Reviews

In 1909, two men laid rival claims to this crown jewel of exploration. A century later, the battle rages still. This book is about one of the most enduring and vitriolic feuds in the history of exploration. "What a consummate cur he is," said Robert Peary of Frederick Cook in 1911. Cook responded, "Peary has stooped to every crime from rape to murder." They had started out as friends and shipmates, with Cook, a doctor, accompanying Peary, a civil engineer, on an expedition to northern Greenland in 1891. Peary's leg was shattered in an accident, and without Cook's care he might never have walked again. But by the summer of 1909, all the goodwill was gone. Peary said he had reached the Pole in September 1909; Cook scooped him, presenting evidence that he had gotten there in 1908. Bruce Henderson makes a wonderful narrative out of the claims and counterclaims, and he introduces fascinating scientific and psychological evidence to put the appalling details of polar travel in a new context.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On April 21, 1908, American explorer Frederick Cook reached the North Pole. A year later, fellow Arctic pioneer Robert Peary denounced him, claiming to have reached the Pole first. In this first-rate tale of adventure, bravery and perfidy, Henderson (And the Sea Will Tell) attempts to identify the winner. In 1891, Cook, recovering from the deaths of both his wife and child and seeking adventure, was hired by Peary as chief medical officer on an expedition to Greenland. The men clashed, setting the stage for later conflict (and providing excellent fodder for this exciting book). Hooked on extreme cold weather quests, Cook journeyed to the Antarctic and was also the first to summit Mount McKinley. In Henderson's telling, Peary too craved adventure, but his insatiable desire for fame was his driving force. "Remember, mother, I must have fame," Henderson quotes Peary saying in a letter to his mother. When Peary learned Cook had reached the Pole before him, Peary painted Cook as a liar and a fraud. According to Henderson, Cook reacted to the barrage by going into seclusion, and when he emerged, it was too late to save his reputation. Peary's claim to the Pole was later dismissed, but Cook's achievement was never recognized. This adventure yarn delivers as both a cautionary tale and a fitting memorial to polar exploration. Illus. Agent, Michael Carlisle. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In 1909, within weeks of each other, Dr. Frederick Cook and Rear Admiral Richard Peary each claimed to have been the first man to reach the North Pole, and a vitriolic controversy erupted. This conflict captivated the American imagination, with each man boasting staunch supporters, and has continued to fascinate to this day. In alternating chapters, best-selling author Henderson (And the Sea Will Tell) chronicles Cook's and Peary's journeys to the top of the world. Their rivalry was sensational partly because the two men had previously been friends and had journeyed north together; in 1891, Cook served as surgeon and ethnologist for Peary's Greenland expedition. Henderson argues that neither man's claim was entirely valid: Cook probably came as close to the geographic pole as anyone in his time, while Peary was apparently 80 miles off. Recommended for public libraries. (Notes and illustrations not seen.)-Margaret Atwater-Singer, Univ. of Evansville Libs., IN Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Henderson (Fatal North, 2001, etc.) offers another nail-biting true adventure, this one involving the turn-of-the-20th-century rivalry between contemporaries who both claimed to be the first man to the Pole. Initially, their shared passion for the Far North brought together Navy man Robert Peary, a bulldog of an explorer, and the gentle physician Frederick Cook. But after Peary invoked his right as expedition leader and refused to allow crew doctor Cook to present a paper on the medical and reproductive practices of the Eskimo, their paths diverged. Peary continued his assaults on the Pole, failing repeatedly, while Cook diversified his explorations to include climbing Mt. McKinley (he was the first man to ever reach its summit) and exploring Antarctica (he was the first American to explore both the northern and southern polar regions). Henderson makes their days vivid, with much discussion of such ancillary characters as Peary's wife, who insisted on traveling with him whenever possible, and events like Cook's near miss in getting funding from Andrew Carnegie. This engrossing story of two divergent yet entwined fates climaxes with twin journeys to the North Pole. Both men claimed to have reached the "Big Nail" (as the Eskimos dubbed it) within days of each other. Henderson comes down squarely on Cook's side, painting the doctor as an honest man, interested only in exploration, who was ill-equipped to deal with Peary's desperation, willingness to discredit his onetime colleague, and generally dirty tactics. A judge friendly with the Peary family even managed to throw Cook into jail for 14 years. For the reader, the pain of witnessing Cook's vilification is almost counterbalanced by hisexoneration 75 years later-but not quite. The debate remains open, but Henderson provides plenty of fuel for Cook loyalists. Agent: Paul Bresnick/Inkwell Management

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393344660
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/16/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
783,884
File size:
636 KB

Meet the Author

Bruce Henderson is the author and coauthor of many nonfiction books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller And the Sea Will Tell. He lives in Santa Rosa, California.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews