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ICE PILOT: Bob Bartlett by Paul Sarnoff

ICE PILOT: Bob Bartlett


Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 1966
Publisher: Messner

Why did he proudly serve his adopted country--even unto old age? Why should his fame be undying? And why should all Americans learn his story?"" Why is it, we expect most readers will wonder, that they have never heard of Bob (Robert Abram) Bartlett, designated here as ""one of the most talked about heroes of the Far North, the one man most responsible for Admiral Peary's conquest of the North Pole."" Fortunately, the hyperbole is dropped after the opening, and the rest of the book settles down to responsible, readable biography of the salty old sailor. He was part of a traditionally seagoing family from Newfoundland and he started sailing when he was seventeen. His association with Peary began when he signed on as first mate for the explorer's first attempt to reach the Pole. For the later expeditions he was captain of Peary's ship, joined in the rigorous explorations, and would have been present at the dash to the Pole if he had been an American citizen. He also piloted Stefansson's Canadian Arctic Expedition, and heroically rescued most of the party when the ship was sunk. Bartlett's years of dissipation when he gave up sailing for the bottle are frankly described here; they're part of his colorful life and don't detract from his achievements. He did reform and continued to pilot expeditions in the far North. For boys interested in books on sailing and exploring, this is a good portrayal of the Peary and Stefansson expeditions and of the stubborn, blustery sailor who assisted.