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Publishers Weekly, 2003-04-01 First-timer Edinger has rediscovered and skillfully retold a forgotten but absorbing epic of early Arctic exploration. In 1829, Captain John Ross of the British Royal Navy set out for the Arctic in a converted Channel steamer, the Victory, the first steam vessel to travel in those waters. He was trying to save his reputation, which was under venomous attack by the Admiralty bureaucrat Sir John Barrow, who accused Ross of possessing an "impenetrably dull or intentionally perverse" mind. Ross succeeded in refuting Barrow's accusations, but only after a four-year ordeal in which his ship was icebound in Arctic waters and survival depended on aid from a friendly Inuit and supplies left from the wreck of an earlier exploration ship, Fury. In the course of those four years, Ross and crew maintained their health and morale-with no help from a steam engine quickly discarded as dead weight-managing to stave off scurvy until near the end of their expedition. Most of the crew survived, a party under the captain's nephew John Clark Ross (later a famous Antarctic explorer) reached the North Magnetic Pole, and altogether Ross and his Victory expedition lost less and achieved more than most of the better-known expeditions that sailed in search of the Northwest Passage. An engaging narrative for most any reader, Edinger's account will be especially gripping for maritime or Arctic exploration fans. One map. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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