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Frozen In Time: The Fate of The Franklin Expedition Paperback – June 30, 2000
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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"... a richly researched history of the expedition... Reading almost like a whodunit page-turner, Beattie and Geiger capture the thrill of making new scientific discoveries and finding important clues to solve a haunting mystery." Publishers Weekly
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Top customer reviews
Even an interesting event like the Franklin Expedition can fall victim to history writers who make their subject boring. This volume is not like that. It's genuinely entertaining and informative. It packs a lot of facts at you from the beginning to (what is doubtfully) the end, but it doesn't feel like a textbook. I just wish it was longer! Hopefully another volume will be released as developments are made in the case.
You were probably introduced to this subject in some way by seeing or hearing about the Beechey Island mummies. But do you know their stories? The archaeological section of this book goes into detail about the three bodies and how analysis of their tissues has helped archaeologists understand what happened to their fellow crewmen.
In all, this is one of the few historical nonfiction books I'd recommend even to people who aren't fond of the genre. It can be gruesome, as the subject itself is gruesome, but it's a good read.
The book provides a brief outline of disappearance the Franklin Expedition on its quest for the Northwest Passage in the early 1800s and the aftermath of the search conducted by various international parties, government and otherwise. It then relates the events of three research expeditions undertaken by the author, a forensic anthropologist who was interested in finding and reviewing various skeletal remains originally discovered decades after the loss of the Franklin party.
Eventually, he concentrates his efforts on exhuming the frozen bodies of three crewmen who had died in the Franklin Expedition's first icebound season, before they had well and truly plunged irrevocably into tragedy. These men had been buried in well-prepared graves on a small island north of Canada's Hudson Bay. Even to this day, the bodies remain fantastically preserved, and the author was able to uncover intriguing evidence that suggests that the expedition did not succumb in a heroic struggle against the large and grand forces of nature, but rather fell to altogether more pedestrian and minute agents.
The exhumation and autopsy processes are well described, and the theory that later develops is explained simply enough for the layman to follow.
Perhaps the biggest strength of this book is the beautifully composed color photos that show the gravesites and the actual bodies. These pictures are truly stirring and invocative.
The maps are also nicely done. However, the book would have benefited from a timeline and from an additional map showing the location of various Franklin party remains and artifacts. It sometimes becomes difficult to recall who was found where and when, since as it turns out, the expedition members covered a lot of ground and some of them split up. With that exception, though, this is an interesting book and a quick but thought-provoking read.
I could not stop reading and went through it very quickly. Highly recommended!
Most recent customer reviews
Easy to read and follow.
What these men endured must have been a total nightmare.