Such extremity of suffering cannot be measured. Madness or death may give relief. But this I know: we on this journey were already beginning to think of death as a friend…


Print shows a group of explorers of the polar regions, representing discovery and exploration, floating on an ice floe, they may all be on the verge of death; weighing judgement are James G. Bennett of the New York Herald and several European heads of state sitting in an area labeled "Reserved for J.G. Bennett and other Crowned Heads", as well as a group of men seated in an area labeled "In the Name of Science - More! More!". This latter group has already pronounced judgement by giving the "Thumbs Down" sign. Notices pasted on the walls of the arena state "Kane died 1853, Franklin died 1850, Hall died 1871, [and] G.W. De Long 1882" referring to explorers who died in the name of science.

Print shows a group of explorers of the polar regions, representing discovery and exploration, floating on an ice floe, they may all be on the verge of death; weighing judgement are James G. Bennett of the New York Herald and several European heads of state sitting in an area labeled “Reserved for J.G. Bennett and other Crowned Heads”, as well as a group of men seated in an area labeled “In the Name of Science – More! More!”. This latter group has already pronounced judgement by giving the “Thumbs Down” sign. Notices pasted on the walls of the arena state “Kane died 1853, Franklin died 1850, Hall died 1871, [and] G.W. De Long 1882” referring to explorers who died in the name of science.

Midnight to the North : the untold story of the woman who saved the Polaris Expedition  Sheila Nickerson  New York : Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, c 2002  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. 187 p. ; ill., map ; 24 cm.  Includes bibliographical references (p. [185]-187). Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Charles Francis Hall, 1821-1871, arctic explorer

Charles Francis Hall, 1821-1871, arctic explorer

In 1871, Charles Francis Hall’s Polaris expedition set out to be the first official American party to reach the North Pole. Five months later, the Polaris had become locked in ice and Hall was dead – likely murdered. The expedition members were set adrift for six months on the icy seas: a fifteen-hundred-mile journey that all survived, thanks to the skills of Hall’s translator, Tookoolito, a thirty-four-year-old woman subsequently referred to as the “Sacagawea of the Ice.”

cfhall003

In Midnight to the North, Sheila Nickerson brings to life the emotional struggle of a wildly various group of people forced to stay together during circumstances of extreme desperation. Imaginatively re-creating Tookoolito’s life, she describes the Inuit woman’s decades-long relationship with Hall; her presentation to the English court and experience as an exhibit in P. T. Barnum’s museum; and the undermining of her sturdy faith in her native heritage by Hall’s stern and often treacherous world.

cfhall005

Advertisements

Comments Off on Such extremity of suffering cannot be measured. Madness or death may give relief. But this I know: we on this journey were already beginning to think of death as a friend…

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments are closed.