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This was really really hard to get into, in part because the first 1/3 of the book is taken up by an expedition where literally no one knows what happened to it and a disjointed retelling of some expeditions to go look for them. The book definitely picks up steam when it moves into the more modern researchers and searchers but by then I just wasn't particularly interested or invested. Definitely not "epic."
Jthierer | 8 andre anmeldelser | Jan 27, 2023 |
In 1845, Sir John Franklin set out with two ships, Erebus and Terror, and a crew of 128 to find the Northwest Passage connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific. The first part describes the preparations, what is known of the voyage, and the many attempts made to locate the lost ships and crew (including guidance from the spirit world.) The second tells of the Inuit’s life in the arctic, oral traditions, superstitions, and their knowledge of the expedition. The third depicts the modern-day search, which eventually resulted in the discovery of both ships.

I had heard of the Franklin Expedition but had never read any detail about its failed attempt. I am impressed by Lady Franklin’s diligence in trying to find her husband. I am glad the Inuit finally got credit for what they knew. If anyone had bothered to listen to them without racial prejudice, more artifacts could have been found closer to the time of the tragedy.

It is more focused on the attempts to find the ships than on the expedition itself. It is for people that do not mind a bit of meandering into topics that are related but not necessarily essential. I gained an understanding of the basics, but there are many remaining questions.
… (mere)
Castlelass | 8 andre anmeldelser | Oct 30, 2022 |
A compelling read that nevertheless has a few issues. This type of book, a popular narrative history, is always fraught with a number of pitfalls. Watson plays fast and loose with the facts in the historical first half of the book. As many historians do, he gets to pick and choose which facts to emphasize in order to make his read more exciting and make the failures more tragic. A particular example is of the many crackpot psychic explorations of the expedition's fate, Watson focuses on the Weezy episode that happened to accurately locate the disaster. He ignores the scores of wrong examples of clairvoyance.

He does however hit the mark in noting that the Inuit oral tradition indicated where the ships were all along and the Europeans and Americans ignored, misconstrued, or discarded the information because of cultural bias. So-called savages couldn't possibly know what they were talking about.

Watson is on firmer ground when he gets to the modern era of search and discovery.

The sad fact is that the earliest rescue missions might have had a chance of actually saving someone if the focus had been on meeting and interrogating the native peoples instead of relying on their own resources. Nobody ever seems to want to state this explicitly. Instead early rescue efforts often falsely accused the Inuit of murdering and cannibalizing the stranded sailors.

The same sort of bias probably kept the Franklin survivors from asking the Inuit for help that could
have improved their chances of finding food or even just finding their way. Still, it is unclear whether there might be other factors such as weather, bad food (or both), or something else that conspired to hinder their chances of survival. Future research may shed more light on this remaining mystery.
… (mere)
Gumbywan | 8 andre anmeldelser | Jun 24, 2022 |
This is definitely an interesting, informative read. However, it was a bit too long and drawn out for me. There were a lot of various people involved throughout the search, and I had to keep flipping back to remind myself whom they were and their significance. Also, maps in the chapters and even images of any artifacts would have been helpful, especially for the casual reader who is not an expert in Arctic geography. If you are highly interested in the Franklin Expedition, I would recommend; for the semi-interested or casual reader, this book is dense.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
… (mere)
JaxlynLeigh | 8 andre anmeldelser | Jul 28, 2019 |



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