On the Edge: Mapping North Americas Coasts

Hardcover | June 20, 2012

byRoger M. Mccoy

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With our access to Google Maps, Global Positioning Systems, and Atlases that cover all regions and terrains and tell us precisely how to get from one place to another, we tend to forget there was ever a time when the world was unknown and uncharted - a mystery waiting to be solved. In On the Edge, Roger McCoy tells the captivating - and often harrowing - story of the 400 year effort to map North America's Coasts. Much of the book is based on the narratives of mariners who sought a passage through the continent to Asia and produced maps as a byproduct of their journeys. Thesecourageous explorers had to rely on the most rudimentary mapping tools and to contend with unimaginably harsh conditions: ship-crushing ice floes; the threat of frostbite, scurvy, and starvation; gold fever and mutiny; ice that could lock them in for months on end; and, inevitably, the failure tofind the elusive Northwest passage. Telling the story from the explorers' perspective, McCoy allows readers to see how maps of their voyages were made and why they were so full of errors, as well as how they gradually acquired greater accuracy, especially after the longitude problem was solved. On the Edge tracks the dramatic voyagesof John Cabot, John Davis, Captain Cook, Henry Hudson, Martin Frobisher, John Franklin (who nearly starved to death and become known in England as "the man who ate his boots"), and others, concluding with Robert Peary, Otto Sverdrup, and Vihjalmur Steffanson in the early twentieth century.Drawing upon diaries, journals, and other primary sources - and including a set of maps charting the progress of exploration over time - On the Edge shows exactly how we came to know the shape of our continent.

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With our access to Google Maps, Global Positioning Systems, and Atlases that cover all regions and terrains and tell us precisely how to get from one place to another, we tend to forget there was ever a time when the world was unknown and uncharted - a mystery waiting to be solved. In On the Edge, Roger McCoy tells the captivating - an...

Roger M. McCoy is Professor Emeritus at the University of Utah, and the author of Ending in Ice.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:June 20, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199744041

ISBN - 13:9780199744046

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Table of Contents

1. The urge to discover lands and make mapsPart I: The Project Begins2. Earliest ventures to the Northwest Passage: John Cabot and othersPart II: 1576-16323. Sailors and sailing in the sixteenth century4. Martin Frobisher succumbs to gold fever5. John Davis makes a near miss6. Henry Hudson has a very bad day7. Further efforts probe the east coastsPart III: 1719-17898. From the Pacific and through the tundraPart IV: 1822-18789. John Franklin's expedition fails, but opens the door to success10. The Franklin searchers almost finish the map11. Finding the North PolePart V: Finishing the Project12. Amundsen sails throughEndnotesBibliographyIndex