Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Ice Blink: The Tragic Fate of Sir John Franklin's Lost Polar Expedition Paperback – March 1, 2001
History To Repeat & Some To Not
Check out these featured history titles.Learn more.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Drawing on early accounts from relief expeditions as well as recent archeological evidence, Scott Cookman reconstructs a chronicle of the expedition in Ice Blink. Cookman, a journalist with articles in Field & Stream and other magazines, excels when firmly grounded in the harrowing reality of 19th-century Arctic exploration. When he speculates about what happened to the Franklin expedition, however, he is on less solid ground and his writing suffers.
Particularly overwrought is the promised "frightening new explanation" for the expedition's demise. Cookman suggests that it was caused by the "grotesque handiwork" of an "evil" man, Stephan Goldner, who had supplied its canned foods. This is hardly new. As early as 1852, investigators determined that the expedition's canned goods were probably inferior and canceled provisioning contracts with Goldner. How a hundred men survived for nearly three years despite lead poisoning and botulism remains a mystery. In the end, as Cookman himself acknowledges, the expedition was ultimately doomed by its reliance on untested technology such as the steam engine, armor plating, and canned provisions. These criticisms aside, Ice Blink is an interesting narrative of this enduring symbol of polar exploration and disaster. --Pete Holloran --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Ice Blink is about mismanagement, oversights, government foibles, prejudice and incompetence. The lessons of the Sir John Franklin's Expedition in 1845 are still sadly relevant. The same problems that doomed those men in the far North are around today. Governments and corporations often award contracts to the lowest bidder, prejudice means the right people do not get hired, top heavy management creates inefficiencies and over reliance on technology obscures common sense.
The lowest bidding manufacturer, Stephen Godner's Canned Food, was the exclusive supplier of canned food for the expedition. No one in the navy bothered to check the filthy conditions at this factory. The canned food arrived just a few hours before the launch, avoiding close inspection. Sir John Barrow, Second Secretary of the Admiralty, hired men of English birth and Anglican faith for the expedition, and dismissed ten experienced Scottish Seamen. One officer was in charge of four men.
Admiral Barrow and Captain Franklin believed in the latest machinery. Ships, scientific knowledge and canned food would lead them to victory. There were no hunters on board or native guides used. Despite all this, Ice Blink is also about the bravery, loyalty and resourcefulness of the men who served on the expedition. They did everything they could to survive and to help each other.
Scott Cookman brings alive the times that made this expedition possible.Read more ›
Cookman, however, rushes breathlessly past all other factors that might have contributed to Franklin's failure, and ends up damaging his case by overstating it, and by expecting that his one explanation -- botulism -- will solve all the mystery and tie up all the loose ends. Cookman's lurid prose doesn't help matters, portraying the admittedly callous and greedy canner Goldner as an evil maniac of unintentionally comic proportions -- right up there with Lex Luthor.
There is some good and valuable research in this book, and in places the Franklin saga is ably retold, but the mixture of morality play and science lecture ultimately becomes rather tedious.
This book claims the culprit was most likely Botulism in the canned meat. This speculation runs contradictory to that lead poisoning thesis put forward in `Frozen in Time' and the fact that admiralty investigations proved the meat tins were not thoroughly sealed(thus Botulism couldn't have formed). Nevertheless this is one of the best books on the fate of the expedition. The author describes the final `death march' south along King William Island and the subsequent cannibalism that took place. Excellent diagrams bring the ships to life and maps show the final route of Franklins last survivors. A must read for those interested in arctic survival and the riddle of Sir John Franklin.
Seth J Frantzman November 2003
Most Recent Customer Reviews
OK, if you happen to read The Terror by Dan Simmons, you will likely download/buy this book and others. Read morePublished 2 months ago by congenial bev
i periodically go on a Polar Exploration binge & reread the books in my library, in some sort of logical order. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kelly Howard
This book on the Franklin expedition is the first, of all that I have read about Franklin , that answers my question: "What about the food preparation itself , before the food... Read morePublished on January 24, 2014 by Ivan Serov
While Scott Cookman's book is a compelling read, with some powerfully written and vividly illustrated passages, it must be taken with a bucket of salt. Read morePublished on November 3, 2013 by Shannon Leigh O'Neil
This book was an excelkent, well-researched account of this story. I enjoyed Cookmans insight into the experiences of those involved and his unique take on the leaders, as well as... Read morePublished on July 28, 2013 by Caitlin
I love to read historical books about explorations. So ordered Ice Blink and I was quite pleasently surprised about the masterful writing of the Author Scott Cookman. Read morePublished on February 27, 2013 by Terry Bardy
I've always been intrigued by Franklin's tragic tale. This is one of the most detailed accounts I've read. It is also meticulously documented.Published on February 7, 2013 by njcboehm
I don't know whether it is the overall hubris of exploration that is the lasting impression from this book or the factual details of how bad "canning" sabotaged this... Read morePublished on December 3, 2012 by Betty Duck