Scottish doctor and explorer John Rae is a controversial figure in the history of the Arctic. He began his career with the Hudson's Bay Company as a surgeon in Moose Factory, Ontario, where he learned to survey, live off the land, and travel great distances on snowshoes. These skills served him well when, in 1846, he was charged with completing the geography of the northern shore of North America and set out on his first expedition. Some years later, while exploring the Boothia Peninsula in 1854, Rae obtained information about the rather shocking fate of the Franklin expedition, which had been missing since 1845. Upon his return to England, however, Rae was discredited by Charles Dickens and shunned by the British establishment, never receiving proper recognition for his roles in finding the Northwest Passage and discovering the fate of Franklin and his crew.
The Arctic Journals of John Rae is the definitive collection of John Rae's writings, from his only published work, Narrative of an Expedition to the Shores of the Arctic Sea in 1846 and 1847, to obscure notes and journals and reports of his controversial findings in 1854. An accomplished explorer who had great respect for the customs and skills of the peoples native to the Arctic, John Rae is a fascinating figure and an important part of the history of the North.
About the Author
John Rae (1813-1893) was a Scottish doctor and explorer born in Orkney, Scotland. He discovered his love of nature and exploration while working for the Hudson's Bay Company as a surgeon in Moose Factory, Ontario, once walking 1,900 kilometres over two months in the winter forest in order to learn how to survey. While exploring the Boothia Peninsula in 1854, he obtained the first information about the fate of the missing Franklin expedition. Rae continued as an explorer into his 70s. He died in London on July 22, 1893.
The award-winning author of ten books, Ken McGoogan is best known for Fatal Passage: The Untold Story of John Rae, the Arctic Explorer Who Discovered the Fate of Franklin. That work won the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize, the CAA History Award, and an American Christopher Award for "a work of artistic excellence that affirms the highest values of the human spirit." With his related book, Lady Franklin's Revenge, Ken added the UBC Medal for Canadian Biography and the Pierre Berton Award for History. He writes a column for Canada's History magazine, recently published How the Scots Invented Canada, and teaches a creative non-fiction course through the University of Toronto and the New York Times Knowledge Network. Ken also makes a cameo appearance in the acclaimed docudrama Passage, which is based on Fatal Passage. Please visit kenmcgoogan.blogspot.com.