To the Top of the World: The Adventures & Misadventures of the Plaisted Polar Expedition, March 28 – May 4, 1967.

An account of a quixotic Minnesotan’s expedition by snowmobile to the North Pole, with the author representing CBS. It seems a tour de force of polar fund raising. There are a few comments about reading:

p. 4-5, When Ralph Plaisted first decided to make this trip he read Stefansson’s Arctic Manual—Kuralt said he read it in one sitting.

p. 26, one of the doctors was a teetotaler and carried a New Testament in his pocket.

p. 67, at one point the plane giving air support from the base station, Eureka, made a drop of small gifts, including “girlie magazines, a travel folder on the glories of Rome in spring, a few cans of K-ration sardines….”

p. 135-6, at the base camp while waiting orders for various duties: We fought off our cabin fever by reading for long hours, each man according to his taste. Most of us plowed through the weather station’s supply of murder mysteries; Jerry Church, who was developing a deep interest in the arctic, read histories of early polar explorations and guidebooks to northern flora and fauna; Jerry Pitzl, who had a scholarly bent, read a thick volume entitled The Epicureans and the Stoic Philosophers [Modern Library no doubt]; Pierre Drouin, who had been teased relentlessly for his argument with Plaisted before the expedition departed, pored through How to Win Friends and Influence People [Dale Carnegie].

p. 170, when the expedition faced a long windstorm which effectively ended the effort to get to the North Pole, and while sitting out “the big blow,” they did various things: Pitzl, also trying to release the tension, found a paperback copy of Is Paris Burning? and tore it into sections so they would all have something to read. That didn’t work, either. The din around them was so loud that even determined attempts to suppress the sound, to read, to write in their diaries, failed. Each violent gust snapped their attention back to the storm.