A rather damning account of Byrd’s expedition and his handling of publicity in covering up anything that might reflect poorly on him, and there were many such things.
p. 21-22: notes Byrd’s preference for Masons for expedition personnel. Fund-raising methods included wealthy patrons; product endorsements; business incentives; sale of publication rights; NY Times exclusives (Russell Owen); use of Ford trimotor to gain Edsel’s favor.
p. 43: necessity had made Byrd into a media personality.
p. 66: The dog handlers killed more seals, including those of a type they had not seen at Discovery Inlet. Light brown and about seven feet long, they were slimmer than the tanklike Weddells and attacked when provoked, issuing a shrill whistling cry. The books identified the species as crabeater seals, named for their crustacean diet….
p. 108, on the base at Little America: He [June] and Balchen were sitting in what we call our library…. Dean Smith, his long legs stretched out, sat near them listening. It is a small room, the walls lined with books, with a desk in the corner and a stove roaring on the other side. But it was quiet and comfortable.
p. 120: In the evening, some readers went to the library in the administration building to peruse the three thousand volumes that Gould had collected. The book the men liked most was the topical mood piece Green Mansions, a love story about a beautiful, fairylike girl in the Venezuelan jungle. The book took them by imagination as far as possible from their hard life at Little America. Byrd removed the adult and juvenile biographies about him to his own room, explaining ‘I don’t want the fellows to think they have to read the books.’ (On the other hand, he could keep track of who was devoted enough to request a biography—a ploy not out of keeping with his ways.)
p. 123: showed films after Sunday dinner, 75 films donated by the National Film Review Board—nothing titillating, Nanook of the North and Charlie Chaplin were favorites.
p. 128: Little America: The planners frequently looked up information in the collection of polar literature Byrd and Gould had gathered, which they considered one of the top polar libraries in the world. Gould, like Byrd, believed that Amundsen’s trek to the South Pole had been the best-run sledge operation in polar history, and the executive based his plans on what the Norwegian had written in his book.
p. 139, after some serious drinking problems: Byrd immediately ordered a general curfew, with everyone to be in either his bed or the library every night after 10 p.m.
p. 142: The Commander apologized by radio to the man for whom Little America’s library was officially named (David Lyman) when Owen [the NYTimes reporter] did not mention him in a story about the library (which Owen used as his work-room). Byrd said he had not seen the text until it had been sent. [see also footnote p. 316 for source.]
p. 201, on geological sledge journey: For relaxation, the weary explorers would read—erudite Professor Gould, for instance, had a volume of Shakespeare’s works—or play cards, usually hearts or bridge.
p. 270+: “The Vanishing Volumes” on delay of scientific reports of his first expedition.
p. 282-3, L. Gould on Byrd’s isolation later recounted in Alone: Is there anything more silly and cheap than his present attempt to be heroic? Even his blindest admirers are bound to see through this inanity (17 April 1934, Gould to Balchen), though earlier Gould said it would “be a godsend for the rest of the expedition” (p. 235, Sept 12, 1933).
290+, epilogue talks of Byrd’s increasing marginalization after 1938-41.