The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the North West Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909

Paperback | October 9, 2001

byPierre Berton

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Scores of nineteenth-century expeditions battled savage cold, relentless ice and winter darkness in pursuit of two great prizes: the quest for the elusive Passage linking the Atlantic and the Pacific and the international race to reach the North Pole. Pierre Berton's #1 best-selling book brings to life the great explorers: the pious and ambitious Edward Parry, the flawed hero John Franklin, ruthless Robert Peary and the cool Norwegian Roald Amundsen. He also credits the Inuit, whose tracking and hunting skills saved the lives of the adventurers and their men countless times.

These quests are peopled with remarkable figures full of passion and eccentricity. They include Charles Hall, an obscure printer who abandoned family and business to head to a frozen world of which he knew nothing; John Ross, whose naval career ended when he spotted a range of mountains that didn't exist; Frederick Cook, who faked reaching the North Pole; and Jane Franklin, who forced an expensive search for her missing husband upon a reluctant British government.

Pierre Berton, who won his first Governor General's award for The Mysterious North, here again gives us an important and fascinating history that reads like a novel as he examines the historic events of the golden age of Arctic exploration.

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From the Publisher

Scores of nineteenth-century expeditions battled savage cold, relentless ice and winter darkness in pursuit of two great prizes: the quest for the elusive Passage linking the Atlantic and the Pacific and the international race to reach the North Pole. Pierre Berton's #1 best-selling book brings to life the great explorers: the pious an...

Pierre Berton was one of Canada’s most popular and prolific authors. From narrative histories and popular culture, to picture and coffee table books to anthologies, to stories for children to readable, historical works for youth, many of his fifty books are now Canadian classics. Born in 1920 and raised in the Yukon, Pierre Berton work...

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Format:PaperbackPublished:October 9, 2001Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385658451

ISBN - 13:9780385658454

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from great read as usual bertin brings you on a journey,meeting incrediable people and events.
Date published: 2011-08-29

Extra Content

Table of Contents

ONE
1. John Barrow's obsession
2. The Croker Mountains
3. Winter Harbour
4. Fame, fortune, and frustration
5. Innuee and kabloonas

TWO
1. Franklin's Folly
2. Miss Porden's core of steel
3. Fury Beach
4. The silken flag
5. Treadmill to the Pole

THREE
1. Endless winter
2. The indomitable Jane
3. Enter the Honourable Company
4. Prison warden
5. A matter of honour
6. The Arctic puzzle

FOUR
1. The lost ships
2. Arctic Fever
3. The American presence
4. The crusaders
5. The dutiful warmth of a son

FIVE
1. Grasping at straws
2. "A French officer will never hang back"
3. The ambitions of Robert McClure
4. The Passage at last
5. Mercy Bay

SIX
1. The spirit rappers
2. Searching for the searchers
3. The blue devils
4. Ships abandoned
5. Relics of the lost

SEVEN
1. The defectors
2. Kalutunah
3. Retreat
4. The high cost of dawdling
5. The polar idol

EIGHT
1. A "weak and helpless woman"
2. The cruise of the Fox
3. the document at Victory Point
4. Failed heroes
5. The ultimate accolade

NINE
1. The obsession of Charles Francis Hall
2. The Open Polar Sea
3. Frobisher Bay
4. Execution
5. Death by arsenic
6. George Tyson's remarkable drift

TEN
1. "The navy needs some action"
2. The seeds of scurvy
3. The scapegoat

ELEVEN
1. The polar virus
2. Abandoned
3. No turning back
4. Starvation winter
5. The eleventh hour

TWELVE
1. Nansen's drift
2. Andrée's folly
3. Peary's obsession
4. Amundsen's triumph

THIRTEEN
1. Nearest the Pole
2. "Mine at last!"
3. Dr. Cook's strange odyssey
4. Cook versus Peary
5. The end of the quest

AFTERWORD
The chart of immortality
Author's Note
Chronology
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

"There's enough riveting reading in The Arctic Grail to last until spring breakup."
The Globe and Mail

"A magnificent history…this should be the definitive study of Arctic exploration for years to come."
Kirkus Reviews

"Berton's book is a thoroughly gripping read."
The Province, Vancouver