GHOST SHIP OF THE POLE by Wilbur Cross

GHOST SHIP OF THE POLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Further in the annals of disaster, this story of the dirigible Italia, which crashed on an ice pack northeast of Spitzbergen, is at once another ordeal of endurance in the arctic as well as a latterday vindication of its leader, Umberto Nobile. Nobile, the engineer-entrepreneur of a ligher-than-air program, was approached by Amundsen in 1925 to organize a polar expedition, and this first exploratory flight got off the ground in 1928. Circling the Pole, Nobile ran into trouble on the return, and was one of the survivors stranded on the ice (while six others were carried aloft again), with fractured limbs. For some time their radio failed to make contact- and when made, rescue operations were only slowly organized. Nobile was perhaps blameworthy in his reluctance and failure to assert authority- but hardly of the cowardice for which he would later be charged- and the gravamen of the attack would be based on the fact that he was the first to be picked up- by a Swedish pilot who on a return trip, drunk, also crashed on the ice. The account here follows in some details the long hardships experienced by his companions, the dangers as the ice packs broke up, the lack of rescue activity, and ends with Nobile's return to Italy- to an even colder treatment than any he had had under Mussolini's Fascist regime. . . . .Based on a great deal of personal interviewing as well as research, this is an apparently well authenticated narrative as well as a little known story- graphic and vigorous. A masculine market seems likely.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1960
Publisher: Morrow-Sloane