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Fatal North: Murder and Survival on the First North Pole Expedition Kindle Edition
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The #1 New York Times bestselling author reveals “the chilling story” of disaster and suspected murder on the19th century Polaris expedition (Vincent Bugliosi, author of Helter Skelter)
Sponsored by the United States government, the Polaris expedition of 1871 was intended to be the first to reach the North Pole. By its end, the ship was sunk, Captain Charles Hall was dead under suspicious circumstances, and thirty-three men, women, and children were struggling to survive while stranded on the polar ice for six months.
News of the disastrous expedition and accusations of murder lead to a national scandal, an official investigation, and a government cover-up. The true cause of the captain’s death remained unknown for nearly 100 years, until Charles Hall’s grave was found by a search party and opened.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Bruce Henderson combines the transcripts of the U.S. Navy’s original inquest, the personal papers of Captain Hall, as well as his autopsy and forensic reports relating to his death, the ship’s log, and personal journals of the crew to tell the complete story of this mysterious tragedy.
“Rewardingly suspenseful…Rousing sea adventure.” —Seattle Weekly
“A factual historical mystery written by a gifted storyteller.” —Library Journal“The story is nothing short of incredible.” —Baton Rouge Advocate
About the Author
Bruce Henderson is the author and coauthor of many nonfiction books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller And the Sea Will Tell. A former newspaper reporter, magazine editor, private investigator, and field producer for television news, Bruce has taught reporting and writing courses at Stanford University and USC School of Journalism. He is a member of the Authors Guild, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the National Press Club. He lives in northern California.--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- ASIN : B088YSBRJH
- Publisher : RosettaBooks (December 12, 2018)
- Publication date : December 12, 2018
- Language : English
- File size : 5678 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 283 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0989467546
- Best Sellers Rank: #98,373 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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This story is about the death of “Captain” Charles Francis Hall and the investigation nearly one hundred years later into that death. Along the way, we learn of the travails of the men trapped in the ice aboard the Polaris.
However, the new captain Sidney Buddington left nineteen men, women and children on an ice floe and just sailed away and refused to come back to rescue them. Fortunately among the stranded were two Inuit hunters and George Tyson. Tyson was a close friend of Hall's. He had little to no control over the behavior of the little troupe of men on the floe who threatened him and the Inuits and did as they pleased.
They managed to survive through hardship and infighting until picked up by a passing ship six months later. They managed to kill seals and small birds on some days. Some other days, they went hungry. The Inuit hunters feared for their families lives as the disruptive faction of men had thoughts of cannibalism, staring with the children.
Sidney Buddington was a whaling captain who had a major drinking problem who took over the Polaris voyage following “Captain” Hall's death. He stole the liquor and even went so far as to drink the preservative solution for the scientific finds by the scientists. He did not want to go north. He constantly complained about Hall and was said to be happy when he died.
Dr. Emil Bessels was the doctor aboard the ship. This is the man that Hall accused of poisoning him. Bessels gave Hall some mysterious white powder by injection. (?) Hall actually got better when he refused treatment by Bessels.
Buddington, Bessels and the other aboard the ship were rescued later. Buddington had plans apparently to scuttle the ship and enjoy the living in a small trading town on Greenland. Buddington gave the vessel to a local Inuit.
The Board of Inquiry held following the rescue did not ask very pressing questions and basically dismissed Hall's death as “natural causes.” Incidentally, Hall's journals were “lost.” Buddington is said to have thrown them overboard and burned them. Although some pages did turn up at the inquiry in the possession of Bessels.
In 1968, some doctors and others journeyed to Hall's grave and took samples of the corpse. These were examined at laboratories in Canada. Hall was found to have very high levels of arsenic. The indication is that he was poisoned. But, by whom?
This is a well written account of the hair raising expedition of the Polaris. It is not overly scientific or dry. It is filled with excerpts from George Tyson's daily journal from the floe. He was a very brave man.
Though it's Charles Hall's enthusiasm for all things arctic that gets the voyage going, George Tyson is the eyes of the book, due to the fact that his journals survived. And he seemed like a decent guy (him being against child molestation and cannibalism certainly helped). There were some pretty dark folks on that voyage.
I felt for Tyson, the level of incompetence and recklessness that surrounded him was crazy! The chapters that describe Tyson and 18 others being stranded on an ice floe for five months was some horrific reading. If not for the natives they wouldn't have lasted but a few days. The "investigation" into what happened on the POLARIS afterward was a study in ineptitude.
Top reviews from other countries
I recommend this book to all readers with an interest in polar exploration.