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.
Paddle to the Arctic: The Incredible Story of a Kayak Quest Across the Roof of the World Paperback – March 25, 2000
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
He constantly complained about being behind a completely unrealistic schedule and how his companion slowed him down. He doesn't even apologize for the patronizing, dictatorial way he treated her. She was making better choices than he and was often better able to figure out their location, yet he treated her like a nuisance. He even admits to driving her to exhaustion (requiring hospitalization), then gets mad at her for not continuing the trip with him. In hindsight while telling the story, he still has no realization that he could have handled things better.
For a potential explorer, this book may provide a good idea of what to expect in the Arctic. The different adventures he encountered are often entertaining, but his attitude in telling them was intolerable. I kept hoping his companion would smack him in the head with her paddle.
For comparison, Maria Coffey's "A Boat in our Baggage" and Chris Duff's "On Celtic Tides" are glorious, well-written stories of grand kayak adventures. Both authors submerse themselves in their surroundings in an attempt to fully appreciate the experience, and they are richly rewarded for it. They had nothing but positive expressions of even the toughest events. They were not merely trying to beat the clock like Don Starkell - their goal was to find the magic of new places. They found the magic and artfully put it on paper for us to enjoy.
Starkell seems to see himself as a hero. With pride he tell of his follies one after another as though over coming each near fatal mistake was a virtue in its self. I dont know what is more amazing, that he lived to tell the story or that he is willing to admite the story.
I am a professional kayak instructor and expedition guide. I have used sections of this book in classes as case studies to see if the novice students can pick out the mistakes. They usually spot them right away.
If you want to know what you should never do on a kayak expedition this is the book for you. As to Mr. Starkell, god been watching over you, and it sounds like that is a full time job for him/(her).
For a truly heroic account of this and other adventures, I highly recommend the account of the late Victoria Jason, who accompanied him on his first two trips. Her book, Kabloona in the Yellow Kayak: One Woman's Journey through the North West Passage, is an inspiring account of courage and generosity made all the more remarkable by the fact that all the while she was battling what turned out to be a terminal illness. Despite all obstacles, she nonetheless succeeded where Starkell failed -- and kept all her fingers and toes to boot.
His writing is nothing more than egocentric drivel about how brilliant and brave he is. Nothing about the beauty, the people or the history.
The journey was remarkable, but Starkells stupidity, incompetance, lack of planning and astonishing lack of ethics are a study on how not to make this type of journey. His methods of resupply consisted of sponging off people who likely couldn't afford it and stealing the rest.
Please don't buy this book. It might encourage this idiot to go kayaking again.
What intrigued me about the book was Starkell's honesty and the incredible story he tells. Whether you like the man or not (and it is apparent that many reviewers do not) his story is compelling, and I found myself utterly absorbed, particularly towards the end of the book when it becomes clear that he is going to lose the race against the fast-approaching winter and ice. I also appreciated that Starkell tells his story honestly. The fear, loneliness, regrets, and doubts that afflict him throughout his journey are there for all to see.
However, while Starkell's single-mindedness can make for a fascinating read, it is also repelling in some respects. I couldn't help but draw comparisons between his attitude and those of some early arctic explorers who sought to "conquer" the land, and who felt nothing for the land itself or the people inhabiting it. Starkell's ambition unfortunately insulates him -- and, consequently, the reader -- from both the stark beauty of the arctic and the culture of the people who have lived there for centuries.
I could not put the book down because of its classic portrayal of a tragic figure.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's not as good compared to Paddle to the Amazon. There's adventure yes, but less interaction with people so I think it's less interesting.Published 9 months ago by Mark Hitz
Another amazing trip from Don Starkell, this story is truly amazing, I found myself talking out loud as I read through some the episodes detailed in the book. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Nigel
I read Don Starkell's first book, "Paddle to the Amazon" and it was amazing. So I had to read this, when I found out about it. What he had to go through was awful. Read morePublished on October 29, 2013 by susan Reuter
Having read his previous book, "Paddle to the Amazon", I was ready for more Don Starkell adventures. Read morePublished on March 29, 2013 by mark
This is one crazy adventurer. Good photos . The paddler is now deceased and shows the spirit of the true adventurer,Published on March 2, 2013 by kathleen pszonka
Although no one in our family intends to kayak in the arctic, we each found this book highly interesting especially for those who kayak as our family does. Read morePublished on December 5, 2012 by Buffy
I found this book fascinating. Don's background is canoe racing and canoe marathons. He is not on a nature trip, he is on a marathon. Read morePublished on October 30, 2011 by Thomas
The preceding reviewer takes light account of the forthrightness of Starkell's account, as well as the supra human effort it took to complete his jounrney. Read morePublished on November 30, 2006 by Strannick