In 1909, two men laid
rival claims to this crown jewel of exploration. A century later, the battle
rages still. This book is about one of the most enduring and vitriolic feuds in
the history of exploration.
“What a consummate cur
he is,” said Robert Peary of Frederick Cook in 1911. Cook responded, “Peary has
stooped to every crime from rape to murder.” They had started out as friends
and shipmates, with Cook, a doctor, accompanying Peary, a civil engineer, on an
expedition to northern Greenland in 1891. Peary’s leg was shattered in an
accident, and without Cook’s care he might never have walked again. But by the
summer of 1909, all the goodwill was gone. Peary said he had reached the Pole
in September 1909; Cook scooped him, presenting evidence that he had gotten
there in 1908.
Bruce Henderson makes a
wonderful narrative out of the claims and counterclaims, and he introduces
fascinating scientific and psychological evidence to put the appalling details
of polar travel in a new context. Download and start listening now!