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The Noose of Laurels: Robert E. Peary and…
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The Noose of Laurels: Robert E. Peary and the Race to the North Pole (utgåvan 1989)

av Wally Herbert (Författare)

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611345,295 (4.3)2
The quest for the North Pole becomes a metaphor in this sizzler by Wally Herbert. . . . What matters is the obsession to be first, along with the squabbling, the fury of the feud, the jealousy and self-delusion that can accompany the pursuit of fame.--Chicago Tribune. Two 8-page photo inserts.
Medlem:MelissaFouse
Titel:The Noose of Laurels: Robert E. Peary and the Race to the North Pole
Författare:Wally Herbert (Författare)
Info:Atheneum (1989), Edition: First Edition, 395 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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The Noose of Laurels: Robert E. Peary and the Race to the North Pole av Wally Herbert

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In 1989, the controversy about Peary and whether he really reached the North Pole heated up again with a book by British polar explorer Wally Herbert (The Noose of Laurels,). Herbert is an experienced polar explorer himself. (Indeed, should Peary's feat be discredited, Herbert becomes the first man to reach the pole "overland," so to speak.) Herbert was asked by the Peary family in 1984 to review all the archival evidence after a British documentary claimed that Dr. Fred Cook was the first to reach the pole. (Actually he got nowhere near it.)

Peary was obsessed with the North Pole. His career began as a naval officer whose training in civil engineering led to an assignment working on the Panama Canal. While still a child he had read Kane's book on arctic exploration. As he grew older and studied more, he became convinced that the manner in which expeditions had been conducted was all wrong. He was certain that adopting native habits was the only way to survive the harsh arctic environment.

Peary was born with excellent political skills, and he cultivated the powerful and influential (not to mention rich) who could persuade the Navy to provide him paid release time for arctic explorations. For these adventures he received much adulation and fame - recognition he craved - much to the annoyance and consternation of his fellow naval officers.

Many of his explorations were flawed. His trip across the Greenland ice cap produced maps so inaccurate as to cause suffering and death to those who relied on them during later expeditions. No matter, he made sponsors happy by naming new land after them.

On several of those odysseys he was accompanied by Dr. Fred Cook, another explorer bitten by the polar bug. Cook produced some excellent ethnological studies of the Eskimos, but Peary refused to let him publish the material, insisting that all publications appear under the Peary imprimatur. He and Cook were to become bitter enemies. Cook later claimed to be the first conqueror of Mt. McKinley, an assertion soon discredited; he had no tangible evidence for the polar claim; and he went to jail for mail fraud in the twenties for selling land that he claimed was rich in oil. (Actually, the land did come in, producing billions of barrels, but he was not released until pardoned by FDR after serving half of a 14-year sentence. -- One interesting note: the Chicago Tribune, in an April 7, 1989 article on the controversy, claims that Cook died in prison. This is flatly contradicted by two other sources, so don't believe everything you read.)

Herbert believes Peary made the elementary mistake of not taking any longitude readings which made sextant sightings from the sun useless for determining precise position. Peary asserted he merely had to travel straight up the 80 degree meridian, but Herbert says ice drift would have taken him way off course and Peary realized belatedly that he was many miles to the west of the pole. A review by the National Geographic Society declared that Peary came close enough. Whatever.

Interestingly, much of Peary's success was due to Matt Henson, a black American and accomplished polar explorer who had accompanied Peary on most of his expeditions. Henson had a great deal of sympathy for the Eskimos and became quite fluent in their language. Peary used him to break trail in the dash for the pole so if indeed they reached the pole it was most likely Henson who got there first, but, of course, not being white, he, like the Eskimos, didn't count.

Peary eventually suffered a nervous breakdown. Herbert insists this was due to self-acknowledgment that he had not really reached the Pole and that he was essentially perpetrating a fraud like Cook, if not on the same scale. You decide. ( )
1 rösta ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
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The quest for the North Pole becomes a metaphor in this sizzler by Wally Herbert. . . . What matters is the obsession to be first, along with the squabbling, the fury of the feud, the jealousy and self-delusion that can accompany the pursuit of fame.--Chicago Tribune. Two 8-page photo inserts.

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