Steele's literate, coherent biography introduces one of the undeservedly obscure figures in arctic exploration. George Back joined the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars; promptly captured, he spent five years as a POW. He became a lieutenant and went back to sea after the war, but the heart of his career lay in the search for the Northwest Passage. He was second-in-command to John Franklin, who had more enthusiasm than ability, on two overland expeditions from Canada, one of which ended in disaster. He commanded a third overland journey and also a peril-ridden voyage by sea. Throughout, he proved courageous, durable, and civilized in his dealings with voyageurs, soldiers, Indians, and Eskimos. He survived the inadequacy of nineteenth-century equipment and knowledge of the Arctic to retire to England, where he became a mentor to a later generation of arctic explorers and thereafter virtually disappeared from the pages of history--until now. Roland GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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