Ninety Degrees North — The Quest for the North Pole by Fergus Fleming

Published by Granta, 2001, Hardback in Dust Wrapper. 1st Ed.

Condition: Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper.

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Illustrated with black and white photographs. From the cover: What was the North Pole? Was it an open sea, a volcano or the Garden of Eden? Was it a portal to new worlds within the globe or an undiscovered continent containing a race of alien beings? Or was it simply a wilderness of ice? In the mid-nineteenth century, the world decided it was time to find out.

America led the field. Commanders such as Kane, Hayes and Hall, battled sickness, shipwreck and starvation to reach the top of the world. So terrible was one voyage that the crew poisoned their captain rather than, continue north only to become marooned on a drifting floe for nine months. Other nations followed: Germany, newly united and eager for its place in the ice; Austria-Hungary, decrepit but still capable of discovery; and Britain, whose sledgers reached a farthest north in 1876 before being driven back by scurvy.

Where governments failed, individuals took up the challenge. Norwegian skiers, Swedish balloonists, Italian aristocrats, tweedy British amateurs and global press barons, tried and failed in heroic succession. Finally came Robert Peary, a grim obsessive who claimed to have reached the Pole in 1909 but who almost certainly did not. It was a joint Italian-Norwegian team, led by Roald Amundsen, who first saw the North Pole (from a zeppelin) in 1926 and, twenty-two years later, a party of Cold War Russians who first set foot on it.

Drawing on unpublished archives and long-forgotten journals, Fleming tells the story of the North Pole with consummate craftsmanship and wit. Ninety Degrees North is a riveting saga of humankinds search for the ultimate goal.

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