Man and the Conquest of the Poles.

p. 75: Barents did all he could to keep up the morale of his flock. By the flickering bear-oil lamp he read them Mendoza’s History and Description of the Great Chinese Empire. Seated in a circle around the smoking fire, their backs frozen, the men listened to their chief, the ‘scholar’ who would one day get them out of the spot they were in. [1596]

When their camp was discovered in 1871: They also found navigational instruments (including a cross-staff), three books [a translation of a Spanish work on navigation by Medina, a Dutch chronicle, and Mendoza’s History of China] and the Dutch translation of Pet’s and Jackman’s logbook. They were surprised to discover in a chest various religious images with which it was doubtless intended to redeem the pagan souls of Cathay.

p. 87: Thomas James expedition of 1631 had with them “the geographical documents of Hakluyt and Samuel Purchas, as well as all the most recent mathematical books.” [Luke Foxe “published an account of his voyage [1631], which many consider an authentic masterpiece of Arctic literature.”

p. 94, Bering in Okhotsk and Siberia in late 1720s: A mass of assistants were prepared for their tasks, among them interpreters speaking Greek and Chaldean. A vast library had been selected: Gulliver’s Travels and Robinson Crusoe were both in it.

p. 99, re. Captain James Cook’s trip in the Endeavour in 1769(?): …the ship’s library would have made many a scientist turn pale with envy.

p. 107: It was on August 1, 1785, that La Perouse sailed from Brest with the Boussole and the Astrolabe, two barges…remarkably well fitted out; Cook might have dreamed of their sumptuous chart rooms, their laboratories and their twelve-hundred-volume library.

p. 121, notes Parry’s literacy classes and the North Georgia Gazette.

p. 154: Franklin’s great expedition was a failure, but a glorious failure…. At the time of the disappearance of the Erebus and the Terror, the sale of books of adventure and books on polar exploration increased tenfold; shopwindows took Voyages to the Far North as their theme, and the most incredible rumors went around….

p. 157-8, Nares for his 1875 expedition: The Geographical Society presented Nares with a volume containing papers on Arctic geography and ethnology, while the Royal Society prepared a digest on various branches of science connected with the regions to be visited.