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Lost Beneath the Ice: The Story of HMS Investigator

av Andrew Cohen

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner
1531,366,570 (4)Ingen/inga
The story of the bold voyage of HMS Investigator and the modern-day discovery of its wreck by Parks Canada's underwater archaeologists. When Sir John Franklin disappeared in the Arctic in the 1840s, the British Admiralty launched the largest rescue mission in its history. Among the search vessels was HMS Investigator, which left England in 1850 under the command of Captain Robert McClure. While the ambitious McClure never found Franklin, he and his crew did discover the fabled Northwest Passage. Like Franklin's ships, though, Investigator disappeared in the most remote, bleak and unknown place on Earth. For three winters, its 66 souls were trapped in the unforgiving ice of Mercy Bay. They suffered cold, darkness, starvation, scurvy, boredom, depression and madness. When they were rescued in 1853, Investigator was abandoned. For more than a century and a half, the ship's fate remained a mystery. Had it been crushed by the ice or swept out to sea? In 2010, Parks Canada sent a team of archaeologists to Mercy Bay to find out. It was a formidable challenge, demanding expertise and patience. There, off the shores of Aulavik National Park, they found Investigator. Lost Beneath the Ice is a tale of endurance, daring, deceit, courage, and irony. It is a story about a tempestuous crew, their mercurial captain, cynical surgeon and kind-hearted missionary. In the end, McClure found fame but lost his ship, some of his crew and much of his honour. Written with elegance and authority, illustrated with archival imagery and startling underwater photographs of Investigator and its artifacts, this is a sensational story of discovery and intrigue in Canada's Arctic. Andrew Cohen is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. Among his books are While Canada Slept, a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award, The Unfinished Canadian, and Extraordinary Canadians: Lester B. Pearson. He writes a nationally syndicated column for The Ottawa Citizen and comments regularly on CTV. A professor of journalism and international affairs at Carleton University, he is founding president of the Historica-Dominion Institute. He has twice received Queen's Jubilee Medals.… (mer)
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Lost Beneath the Ice: The Story of HMS Investigator by Andrew Cohen is a short history of the men of the HMS Investigator and their three winters stranded in the Arctic. Cohen is a professor of journalism and international affairs at Carleton University. He writes a syndicated column for Postmedia Newspapers and is a regular commentator on television. Cohen's previous books are While Canada Slept and Unfinished Canada.

Lost Beneath the Ice is separated into four sections. The first section is the story of HMS Investigator voyage into the Arctic, its beaching, and discovery of the Northwest Passage. The mid-nineteenth century was a time of adventure. England, after the defeat of Napoleon, needed something to do with its large navy in peacetime. One use of the navy was exploration. The Arctic offered a promise of a shortcut to the Indies by means of the long sought after Northwest Passage. There was profit to be found in a shorter route and avoiding the long and dangerous trip around South America. There was the sense of adventure (and money) in the exploration, and sometimes that competition and promises of glory lead to some bad decisions. One of those bad decisions was beaching for the winter in Mercy Bay. The men would eventually spend three winters in the Arctic struggling to survive.

The second part of the book deals with the project locate the wreck of the Investigator in 2010 by Parks Canada. The second half of the book are pictures. The first part are drawings of the the ship, the captain's notes, and some remarkable paintings. The final part of the book is pictures from the Parks Canada search for the Investigator. There are photographs of the ship still underwater, team members, and relics left from the ship and men.

Lost Beneath the Ice is a short history and the report of the recent discovery of the HMS Investigator. The illustrations make up an important part of the book both the historical and recent photographs. The history is very concise, but very good. It does make me wonder what the men of the HMS Investigator thought about their discovery of the Northwest Passage and the realization that is was ultimately useless for navigation. Three long winters in isolation, on limited rations, waiting for a thaw that never came...I guess something practical would have made most of the men happy-- to make it home alive. A very good read on a very limited topic. ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
This is a story about a ship the HMS Investigator was sent on a mission to find Sir John Franklin who was lost at sea.The Investigator's Captain Robert McClure had his own agenda, he never found Sir John but he did find the Northwest Passage. This book tells the story of the hardships suffered by the Investigators crew and officers, while they were stuck in the ice for three winters.
The ship remained a mystery for a century and a half until in 2010 when the Parks Canada sent a team to find it. This was a well told story and the research was excellent.
Thanks to Net Galley and Dundurn for allowing me to read this book. ( )
  druidgirl | Jan 26, 2014 |
The story of the rediscovery of the wreck of HMS Investigator by Parks Canada in the frozen waters of Mercy Bay in July of 2010 captured the imagination of the world, and evoked the 'heroic age' of Arctic exploration in a way no other recent event has managed. In part, this is due to the way in which a ship, even in its watery grave, evokes the endeavor of exploration with far more gravity and magnificence than any recent discoveries on land have done (last summer's toothbrush, found at Erebus Bay, comes to mind). But it's also due to the fact that the Parks Canada team was uniquely positioned to undertake a thorough on-site survey of the wreck, and to transmit the news and images of their discovery via the Internet and the news media almost as they were happening. And, it should be mentioned, the chief reason that the archaeologists on the site had the kind of support and media access that they did was largely due to the predilection of the then and present Government of Canada for the symbolic significance of the Franklin expedition and those who searched for it, particularly in relation to the issue of Arctic sovereignty. This is not the place to debate the wisdom of that policy -- historians and the public must be grateful for the commitment of any kind of support to archaeological research of this kind -- but still, there is a certain irony surrounding the fact that, outside of Ryan Harris's team who features in this book, Parks Canada's archaeological staff has suffered from significant losses in funding and personnel.

That said, this is a glorious book, primarily for its beautifully-printed illustrative materials, which include many of the paintings of Lieutenant Gurney Cresswell, which until now were not readily available together, nor reproduced at such a generous scale. The original Admiralty schematics for HMS Investigator herself are also reproduced as double-page illustrations, along with images of some of the letters sent conveying the news of McClure's eventual rescue, and other materials of the day. The modern photographs, although they don't reveal new findings, are reproduced with excellent resolution, and possess a drama in the hand that's missing when the same images are viewed upon a screen. The overall quality of production is very high, and there's no other book of its kind that so dramatically evokes the hazards of Arctic navigation in the nineteenth century. I certainly can't imagine a more welcome holiday gift for any exploration buffs on one's list.

The text, alas, is somewhat less enlightening; while Andrew Cohen has exercised considerable skill in briefly recounting the voyage, the ship's imprisonment in the ice, and eventual abandonment, his lurid patches of language sometimes undercut the story's own intrinsic drama. He's more journalist than historian, which is fine insofar as the book quickly acquaints the reader, in broad strokes, with the history of Arctic exploration in Britain, the reasons the Franklin expedition was dispatched, and McClure's own role in the search for its missing ships. Those deep in the throes of what I like to call 'Franklinomania' will find nothing new, but then, the text isn't really meant for them. They will, however, find the illustrations and photographs as -- or perhaps even more -- valuable than the proverbial thousand words. ( )
  rapotter | Nov 21, 2013 |
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The story of the bold voyage of HMS Investigator and the modern-day discovery of its wreck by Parks Canada's underwater archaeologists. When Sir John Franklin disappeared in the Arctic in the 1840s, the British Admiralty launched the largest rescue mission in its history. Among the search vessels was HMS Investigator, which left England in 1850 under the command of Captain Robert McClure. While the ambitious McClure never found Franklin, he and his crew did discover the fabled Northwest Passage. Like Franklin's ships, though, Investigator disappeared in the most remote, bleak and unknown place on Earth. For three winters, its 66 souls were trapped in the unforgiving ice of Mercy Bay. They suffered cold, darkness, starvation, scurvy, boredom, depression and madness. When they were rescued in 1853, Investigator was abandoned. For more than a century and a half, the ship's fate remained a mystery. Had it been crushed by the ice or swept out to sea? In 2010, Parks Canada sent a team of archaeologists to Mercy Bay to find out. It was a formidable challenge, demanding expertise and patience. There, off the shores of Aulavik National Park, they found Investigator. Lost Beneath the Ice is a tale of endurance, daring, deceit, courage, and irony. It is a story about a tempestuous crew, their mercurial captain, cynical surgeon and kind-hearted missionary. In the end, McClure found fame but lost his ship, some of his crew and much of his honour. Written with elegance and authority, illustrated with archival imagery and startling underwater photographs of Investigator and its artifacts, this is a sensational story of discovery and intrigue in Canada's Arctic. Andrew Cohen is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. Among his books are While Canada Slept, a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award, The Unfinished Canadian, and Extraordinary Canadians: Lester B. Pearson. He writes a nationally syndicated column for The Ottawa Citizen and comments regularly on CTV. A professor of journalism and international affairs at Carleton University, he is founding president of the Historica-Dominion Institute. He has twice received Queen's Jubilee Medals.

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