PEARY: The Explorer and the Man by John Edward Weems

PEARY: The Explorer and the Man

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Much of the value of this biography of the discoverer of the North Pole lies in its access to hitherto unavailable personal documents, notably Peary's diary. The diary, often quoted here, gives final proof that Peary did in fact discover what he was searching for, and for which Congress awarded him its thanks and a retirement pension. However Peary's former surgeon, the affable Dr. Frederick Cook, had telegraphed to the world that he had discovered the Pole and had telegraphed this message five days before Peary reached a wireless to break the news. This frustration, after twenty three years of incredible effort, infuriated Peary to such a degree that he world not defend his accomplishment. In fact he never quite recovered from the blow. This is a thorough account of the expeditions, the immense journeys by dog sled, the impossibly perilous crossings of tundras of ice and snow. That the redoubtable Peary's achievement should be bent and twisted by the press was indeed tragic, and this is a broad and moving biography, particularly in its theme of American spirit and ingenuity pitted against the existential polar wastes.

Pub Date: March 9th, 1967
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin