Death on the Ice: The Great Newfoundland Sealing Disaster Of 1914

Paperback | February 29, 1988

byCassie Brown

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Each year, for generations, poor, ill-clad Newfoundland fisherman sailed out 'to the ice' to hunt seals in the hope of a few penniew in wages from the prosperous merchants of St. John's.  The year 1914 witnessed the worst in the long line of tragedies that were part of their harsh way of life.

For two long, freezing days and nights a party of seal hunters--one hundred thirty-two men--were left stranded on an icefield floating in the North Atlantic in winter.  They were thinly dressed, with almost no food, and with no hope of shelter on the ice against the snow or the constant, bitter winds.  To survive they had to keep moving, always moving.  Those who lay down to rest died.

Heroes emerged--one man froze his lips badly, biting off the icicles that were blinding his comrades.  Other men froze in their tracks, or went mad with pain and walked off the edge of the icefield.  All the while, ships steamed about nearby, unnoticing.  And by the time help arrived, two thirds of the men were dead.

This is an incredible story of bungling and greed, of suffering and heroism.  The disaster is carefully traced, step by step.  With the aid of compelling, contemporary photographs the book paints an unforgettable portrait of the bloody trade of seal hunting among the icefields when ships--and men--were expendable.

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From Our Editors

Discover an incredible story of greed, suffering and heroism in Death on the Ice. In the winter of 1914, 132 ill-clad seal hunters from Newfoundland were stranded on an ice field in the North Atlantic for two freezing days and nights. With almost no food or shelter to guard against the constant, bitter winds, they had to keep moving to...

From the Publisher

Each year, for generations, poor, ill-clad Newfoundland fisherman sailed out 'to the ice' to hunt seals in the hope of a few penniew in wages from the prosperous merchants of St. John's.  The year 1914 witnessed the worst in the long line of tragedies that were part of their harsh way of life.For two long, freezing days and nights a pa...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.2 × 5.4 × 0.6 inPublished:February 29, 1988Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385251793

ISBN - 13:9780385251792

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From Our Editors

Discover an incredible story of greed, suffering and heroism in Death on the Ice. In the winter of 1914, 132 ill-clad seal hunters from Newfoundland were stranded on an ice field in the North Atlantic for two freezing days and nights. With almost no food or shelter to guard against the constant, bitter winds, they had to keep moving to survive. Cassie Brown describes these horrifying hours in a rich narrative evoking the essence of terror.

Editorial Reviews

"Cassie Brown has done a magnificent job. It's been a long time since the appearance of a Canadian book that so graphically describes the horrible abuse and disdain with which the working man was treated in the early part of this century."-Calgary Herald"Death on the Ice succeeds not only in capturing the essence of the event, but maintains an atmosphere of taut suspense up to the climactic rescue. A thriller."-Financial Post"A compelling reconstruction of the 1914 'Newfoundland' disaster...invites comparison with The Naked and the Dead..."-Newfoundland Herald