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Notable new books

Jan 1, 2003

Across the Top of the Worl: The Quest for the Northwest Passage

by James P. Delgado

The 327-year search for a passage that essentially did not exist understandably resulted in some difficult situations for the hundreds of mariners involved. Many were killed, ships with whole crew disappeared, and, at the very least, everyone who attempted this fruitless quest endured extreme hardship.

Across the Top of the World documents the many attempts to connect, by way of a northerly route, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as an alternative to the treacherous and lengthy Cape Horn voyage. Delgado details the many failed expeditions, including the mystery surrounding the loss of Sir John Franklin's ships Erebus and Terror and the entire 129-person crew (1845-1848), and the final success by Norwegian Roald Amundsen (1903-1906) in his little vessel Gjoa. The book includes many images of the various vessels and their crew, including a ghastly photo of the body of one of Franklin's crew, whose face is frozen in a hideous grin. 300 pages.