Four Against the Arctic. Shipwrecked for Six Years at the Top of the World.


More an account of Roberts’s search for the story of four Russian sailors stranded on Svalberg for six years in the 1740s, ending only with circumstantial speculations that they were likely to have spent almost seven years on small Halfmoon Island in southeast Svalberg. They were probably illiterate Mezeners (Pomori from Mezen, Russia) who had no books with them, and Roberts speculates on how then spent time fighting “cabin fever” and keeping healthy: endless knot tying, mending nets, repairing clothes, carving driftwood, some games, etc. (see p. 208-16 on the phenomenon of cabin fever). The title puns on the four who went to spend two weeks on Halfmoon Island, with the polar bears, etc., looking for the remains of the story.