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 mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
True North: Peary, Cook, and the Race to the Pole Paperback – February 17, 2006
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
On April 21, 1908, American explorer Frederick Cook reached the North Pole. A year later, fellow Arctic pioneer Robert Peary denounced him, claiming to have reached the Pole first. In this first-rate tale of adventure, bravery and perfidy, Henderson (And the Sea Will Tell) attempts to identify the winner. In 1891, Cook, recovering from the deaths of both his wife and child and seeking adventure, was hired by Peary as chief medical officer on an expedition to Greenland. The men clashed, setting the stage for later conflict (and providing excellent fodder for this exciting book). Hooked on extreme cold weather quests, Cook journeyed to the Antarctic and was also the first to summit Mount McKinley. In Henderson's telling, Peary too craved adventure, but his insatiable desire for fame was his driving force. "Remember, mother, I must have fame," Henderson quotes Peary saying in a letter to his mother. When Peary learned Cook had reached the Pole before him, Peary painted Cook as a liar and a fraud. According to Henderson, Cook reacted to the barrage by going into seclusion, and when he emerged, it was too late to save his reputation. Peary's claim to the Pole was later dismissed, but Cook's achievement was never recognized. This adventure yarn delivers as both a cautionary tale and a fitting memorial to polar exploration. Illus.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In April 1908, Frederick Cook arrived at the North Pole. In April 1909, so did Robert Peary. Or did they? Nearly a century later, the geographical jury is still out on who was first. Henderson, experienced at writing boreal sagas (e.g., Fatal North, 2001, an account of an 1871 arctic disaster), tenders no verdict himself. Rather, he synthesizes a flowing narrative from the accounts set down by Cook and Peary as well as those of ancillary figures, such as Matthew Henson. That approach lets readers form their own conclusions; one that many will make is that Peary was an obsessive fame seeker with malignant resentments. Peary was miserly, held many grudges, detested anyone poaching on "his" North Pole, and committed underhanded deeds, such as forcing Cook's records of attaining the pole to be abandoned on Greenland. (They have never been recovered.) Portraying Cook in a more sympathetic light, Henderson traces the deterioration of Cook's once-friendly relations with Peary, ably recapturing the rivalry that remains the most acrimonious in the annals of arctic adventure. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
This reviewer had recently read "Fatal Passage" by Kevin McGoogan before beginning to read "True North," and soon saw parallels between the protagonists in both stories: John Rae in the former and Frederick Cook in the latter. Both started their careers as doctors and both became highly competent and successful explorers, in part, by learning from and adopting methods of the natives of the North. Rae was an inspiration on South Pole race winner Raoul Amundsen and Cook was a mentor and good friend of Amundsen and worked with him in the Antarctic where they showed a knack for innovation in lighter and more efficient exploration equipment. Cook would use such innovation in becoming the first to scale Mount. McKinley. Rae and Cook both had their most heralded achievements challenged by rival factions who damaged their reputations and took their glory. Rae's main antagonist was Lady Jane Franklin, Cook's was Robert Peary, his only competition to the North Pole.
Peary comes off in "True North" very badly. Henderson paints him as an arrogant, domineering man so hungry for glory he was more than willing to resort to lies and deception to exaggerate his achievements and smear those of his chief rival, the humble Cook. Many of Peary's discoveries or milestones were questioned by members of his own party (i.e. Perry Land and Perry Channel in Greenland, pg. 75) and were later discredited. Peary, however, had friends in high places and did not seem to have to defend his claims as vigorously as Cook. Peary also used his political clout to relentlessly attack Cook, including his reports on Mount McKinley.
As in "Fatal Passage," Henderson is very bias in his championing of Cook and vilification of Peary. Upon finishing the book, most readers will probably see Cook as a victim who never received his due and Peary as the bully who hogged acclamation he did not earn. The worse cases against Peary are the incidences detailed where Peary endangered the health of others to achieve his individual greatness and sabotage the work of Cook. Was Peary really a heartless villain and Cook a pristine hero? Such things are usually somewhere in between. Not having read other books on the subject, this reviewer does not know if Henderson's stance is the norm among historians or is an unfair, one-sided account. Still, "True North" makes for a solid case and is a well-written examination of one of the most exciting events in the age of exploration.
Bruce Henderson does a great job comparing the two men who claimed to be first to the North Pole. Was it Peary? Was it Cook? This is so well written and interesting you'll find it hard to put down. I have always had my opinion as to who can rightfully claim the title of "First", but after this book, I changed my mind. You may do the same. Each explorers journey is detailed along with a close look at thier personality and inter-action with others. I guarantee you will love this book!