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the Noose of Laurels Paperback – June 1, 1990

6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Who was first to reach the North Pole: Frederick Cook or Robert Peary? Herbert, who retraced both the Cook and the Peary routes, here provides an intensive examination of each man's claim to the Pole and determines that neither made their destination. "This is a valuable addition to Arctic history, and a gripping adventure story," said PW . Illustrated.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

While not quite the "definitive answer" to the Peary-Cook polar controversy claimed by the publisher, this book is the most thorough and balanced examination of Peary's "discovery" of the North Pole yet. Cook, probably deservedly, gets somewhat short shrift. English explorer and author ( Across the Top of the World ) Herbert has logged 20,000 miles in the Arctic himself and was the first outsider to have access to some crucial documentation of Peary's final trek. Like many previous investigators, Herbert finds Peary's claims to be insufficiently documented and flawed, but he has a new theory as to how Peary went wrong. Essential for polar buffs, superseding such works as John E. Weems's Peary ( LJ 2/15/67; o.p.), but somewhat heavy going and detailed for tyros.
- Jonathan F. Husband, Framingham State Coll. Lib., Mass.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 395 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (June 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385413556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385413558
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 7.9 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,804,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Wally Herbert has in this compelling and well researched dissertation, taken the claims of Robert E. Peary, and subjected them to a historical and geograhical judgement. It is the opinion of Mr. Herbert, that Peary never reached the pole. I feel that Mr. Herbert came to this conclusion not out of any vindictiveness, but rather to set the historical record straight. The book pays great respect to the bravery, craft and intelligence of Peary. Mr. Herbert is an explorer and expert navigator, and his knowledge of the Polar regions allows him to pass an objective opinion on this matter. The text is concise and also inspiring to a receptive mind.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Muller on July 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Wally Herbert has presented a very thoroughly researched and documented book on the Peary/Cook race to the North Pole concluding that Cook flat out lied about arriving at the Pole (that's easy to correctly conclude)and Peary carelessly missed it by numerous navigational errors. This is a tale that can seemingly never be put to rest. Sir Wally Herbert is well qualified to research and write such a book as he himself dog sledded from Barrow Alaska, over the North Pole and back below the Arctic Circle to Spitzenberg in 1969. I thought the author was very even handed about his research and his fair presentation of the facts as he could best interpret them. I think however, Wally Herbert mistakenly concludes that Peary missed the Pole and presumably 'lied' about achieving his goal of being the first to arrive at the North Pole. After I read Herbert's book I took the opportunity to re-read a 1990 National Geographic article entitled "New Evidence Places Peary at the Pole". In the article an independent body of geographic, photographic and navigational experts from the Navigation Foundation of Rockville, MD were presented with all of the navigational details of Peary's diary notations, his photographs, ocean depth soundings and preserved navigational equipment. The article makes a very convincing and cogent presentation that Peary's photographs (the angle and extent of shadows within the exposures) when measured photogrammetrically present unalterable proof that the photos were taken with five miles of the pole. Further the ocean depth sounding results taken on the way to the pole by Peary are currently consistent with what we now know about the actual depth of the Arctic Ocean along the meridian travelled by the Peary Expedition.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton on March 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
It could be said that the very pride of Americans in their country was born on the day Commander Robert E. Peary discovered the North Pole in 1909. Sadly, Peary's own secretive style and his refusal to submit his logbooks for scrutiny allowed doubts to overshadow that monumental achievement. For seventy five years those private logbooks remained locked away from public gaze and, as is always the case with those who achieve greatness, others who are unable to rise to such heights are only too willing to chip away at any well-deserved reputation until there is nothing of the meal left on which to feast.

Then, 80 years later, renowned polar explorer Wally Herbert was given permission to study those previously unseen logbooks and private letters and, based on his own 30 plus years of exploring the arctic, could question the great Peary at his leisure. Throughout the following years of research in which he sought the answers to the most demanding questions, Wally Herbert reached a much needed conclusion as to exactly what Peary did or did not achieve. In order to reach that final determination, Herbert had peeled away Peary's very façade to reveal him as an ordinary man with ordinary frailties. It is always, however, the ordinary man who is able to achieve greatness.

In putting together his research and findings into this excellent and most readable book, Herbert has provided the reader with an historic account greater than any work of fiction.

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