No cavil, this is the frostiest arm yet raised in search of the American Negro's identity: a black man at the North Pole, it seems, is something even more than equal to the elements and Eskimos than are white men. After six years before the mast, Matthew Henson, 18, meets Lt. Peary, who takes him to Nicaragua as his valet. Peary and Henson spend several months together in the steaming jungle, mostly alone, surveying for the U.S.-Nicaragua Canal. Later, Peary asks Henson to accompany him on an expedition to discover the North Pole. Henson goes and, where white men flounder, finds himself the Admirable Crichton to the core. Eskimos love Henson; whites find him suspicious in the Arctic atmosphere. Henson is soon the best dog sled man, but though the Devil of the ice cap has a terrible appetite, Peary huk-huks out onto the cap without Henson. Peary returns, after 1200 miles of exploration, haggard, exalted, and plans for a next trip to locate the true pole. A new expedition is outfitted and years are spent searching for the cap. Finally, Henson and Peary are out there together near-savages, often tied onto their sledges or feeding a dog to the dogs. Henson shoots a hare, they eat it red and raw. And on they push toward the great discovery. But the discovery turns bitter, when Dr. Frederick Cook challenges Peary as the first discoverer. For all of its blizzards and blood, here is a warm, sunny biography of a wonderful man and great Negro. Highly recommended.