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A Wretched and Precarious Situation: In Search of the Last Arctic Frontier by [David Welky]

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A Wretched and Precarious Situation: In Search of the Last Arctic Frontier Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 125 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"What a book!....Excellent writing that combines some of the serious novelist’s techniques with information that can only come from hundreds of hours with long-forgotten diaries, letters and newspaper accounts....Comparable but better-known authors in the genre include David McCullough, John Barry and Timothy Egan."
Bill Streever, Dallas Morning News

"Polar historians…will be grateful to have the Crocker Land expedition properly documented."
New York Times Book Review

"David Welky reveals in this engrossing account....the classic litany of illness, privation and howling blizzards, [and] a singularly bizarre finding about [polar explorer Robert] Peary's original sighting."

"Welky’s fast-moving, evocative narrative paints a vivid portrait of the men who, along with their Inuit companions, risked their lives for ‘dreams of lost continents awaiting discovery.’"
The Explorers Journal

"A penetrating study of human character in a challenging environment....His seamless narrative, chilling at times and always thought-provoking, transports the reader to a time when the Arctic was virtually as harsh and inaccessible a place as the Moon or Mars."
Natural History

""Drawing on extensive expedition diaries....This is a classic explorer’s narrative, pitting ambition against the limits of endurance.""
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Making magnificent use of documents and recreating the years-long Arctic sojourn with the drama and immediacy of a tension-filled adventure novel, [Welky] conjures a romantic quest emblematic of the rugged manliness of the time…vastly entertaining."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Welky is a superb writer, and he mines the interpersonal relationships of the expedition’s participants – the loyalties, the friendships grown or torn asunder, the cultural insensitivities – as effectively as he describes the travel, the exploration into unknown territory, and the constant flirtation with death at the hands of the elements."
The Arctic Book Review

"Unravels the strange story of one of the world’s greatest discoveries that never was."
Simon Worrall, National Geographic --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

About the Author

David Welky is the author of The Thousand-Year Flood: The Ohio-Mississippi Disaster of 1937, The Moguls and the Dictators: Hollywood and the Coming of World War II, and other books. He is a professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01BZ1V682
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ W. W. Norton & Company; Illustrated edition (November 1, 2016)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ November 1, 2016
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 26600 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 ‏ : ‎ 505 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN ‏ : ‎ 0393254410
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 125 ratings

About the author

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I write the kinds of books that I like to read. I'm drawn to quirky topics with fascinating characters that illuminate a particular moment in time, and I love telling stories using clear, direct, engaging prose that allows readers to immerse themselves in unfamiliar worlds.

As a professional historian, I strive to uphold the most rigorous standards of scholarship. I don't invent conversations, I don't put words in people's mouths, and I don't offer conclusions that I can't support. As a writer and a book lover, however, I want you to feel like a participant in every scene I describe, whether it's set in the Oval Office, a refugee camp, or an Arctic shack.

History is what I do. I write about the past, I read about the past, and I talk about the past. I hope my passion for the subject shines through in my work. Thanks for reading!

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
125 global ratings

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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 27, 2016
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Top reviews from other countries

paul hutton
5.0 out of 5 stars a book is a book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on February 17, 2017
Marc Ranger
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly remarquable expedition, for all the wrong reasons.
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on March 10, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars Arctic suffering at it's best/worst.
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on March 21, 2018
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