The Canadian Journal of Lady Aberdeen, 1893-1898.

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Ishbel Marie Marjoribanks Hamilton-Gordon, Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair, better known as Lady Aberdeen (1857-1939), was a British social reformer devoted to women’s rights, philanthropy, and other causes. “As Vice-Regal Consort to Governor General John Campbell Hamilton-Gordon, Earl of Aberdeen, from 1893 until 1898, Lady Aberdeen organized the National Council of Women in Canada, became first sponsor of the Women’s Art Association of Canada and helped found the Victorian Order of Nurses” [Canadian Encyclopedia ].

Shackleton’s Boat Journey.

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Another account by the navigator of the famous boat journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia, a new edition introduced by Ranulph Fiennes. There is nothing about reading and I suspect that navigation books and charts were the only printed matter aboard the James Caird. Worsley’s account of those materials, however, is compelling. [Somewhere towards the end of this short book Worsley gives a nickname to divine providence, “Old Provi,” with whom there seemed to be a close relationship in times of crisis.]

That First Antarctic Winter: The Story of the Southern Cross Expedition of 1898-1900, as Told in the Diaries of Louis Charles Bernacchi

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A rather heavily edited version of Bernacchi’s diaries together with passages from To the South Polar Regions, with connecting commentary of tedious nature, until the end. Most interesting are the feuds between Borchgrevink and Bernacchi, which are well-captured in the text. Not much reference to reading, books, etc., nor the supposedly decent library aboard ship. Here are a few references:

Clement Markham: Longest Service Officer, Most Prolific Editor,

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p. 168, on Markham’s 1850-51 Greenland expedition: Confined to a tent by a storm, he ‘Read Pickwick aloud, ate, drank, slept and read Johnson’s life of Pope, alternately. Had a duck and sandpipers stewed in green pea soup, for dinner.’ See Markham’s MS. Journal in the Royal Geographical Society, Archives, CRM 3. This entry is from 7 July 1851.

Only Yesterday.

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p. 353, re Byrd: Yet the noble art of ballyhoo, which had flourished so successfully in the nineteen-twenties, had lost something of its vigor. Admiral Byrd’s flight to the South Pole made him a hero second only to Lindbergh in the eyes of the country at large, but in the larger centers of population there was manifest a slight tendency to yawn: his exploit had been over-publicized, and heroism, however gallant, lost something of its spontaneous charm when it was subjected to scientific management and syndicated in daily dispatches. [See also chapter 8, “The Ballyhoo Years,” p. 186ff.]

Life Onboard an Emigrant Ship: Being a Diary of a Voyage to Australia.

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The Rev. Mereweather of the Anglican Church saw it as his unpaid duty to provide moral leadership to the “poorer classes” being conveyed to Australia. Proceeds from its sale would go to the Female Emigrant Society for that purpose.

Sailors’ Life and Sailors’ Yarns

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A journalistic kind of composite by a somewhat pious and rather strict naval disciplinarian. The following extracts some may read as the comments of a urbane writer of sound but severe morals; I see them as those of a pompous ass.

Across the Top of Russia

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On the 1965 Coast Guard icebreaker, CGS Northwind, trip to the Kara Sea for scientific and spying purposes.

Polar Castaways: The Ross Sea Party (1914-17) of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

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An earnest and thorough review of Shackleton’s Ross Sea relief party that successfully planted supply depots for Shackleton, though he never reached or needed them.

The Content of the Kettles.

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An even-handed account of Dickens’ attack in Household Words on John Rae’s reports of cannibalism among the Franklin party, reporting Rae’s eventual vindication.

Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen: Ambition and Tragedy in the Antarctic.

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A revision of a pre-Huntford critical work on Scott, though he says he didn’t know he was writing a “debunking” biography in 1977. Doesn’t have the acerbic bite of Huntford, but has something critical to say about all three explorers.

A History of Polar Exploration.

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Kirwin’s History is widely considered the classic history of polar exploration.