Race to the Polar Sea: The Heroic Adventures of Elisha Kent Kane

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9781582434407: Race to the Polar Sea: The Heroic Adventures of Elisha Kent Kane

Book by McGoogan Ken

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In the mid-1800s, geographers revived the ancient idea that at the top of the world, encircling the North Pole, lay a temperate Open Polar Sea. Without doubt, the voyager who discovered this balmy basin would etch his name forever in the annals of exploration. Among those drawn to the challenge was Dr. Elisha Kent Kane, a handsome, charismatic figure from a leading Philadelphia family. In the Philippines, Kane had lowered himself into a live volcano. In Egypt, he had sailed down the Nile River only to be attacked by Bedouins. In West Africa, he had traveled by caravan into the interior of Dahomey to investigate the slave trade. In 1853, Kane sailed to the Arctic to seek both the Open Polar Sea and lost British explorer, John Franklin. After sailing farther north than anyone yet, Kane and his men became trapped in the ice. Besides treacherous icebergs and violent currents, Kane battled starvation, disease, and a near mutiny before abandoning ship to lead a desperate escape in sleds and small boats. Race to the Polar Sea tells this story in heart-pounding detail. Drawing on documents never before seen, author Ken McGoogan brings to life a heroic figure famous in his day as America's greatest explorer. He clarifies the tragic fate of the woman Kane loved despite his family's opposition, and celebrates a shining example of American courage and survival.


"Deeply fascinating on at least two levels: as a portrait of a remarkable if not always likeable woman; and as an enthralling study of social conventions."

"In Ken McGoogan's artful telling, John Rae emerges from the shadows to take his place among the most intriguing of the 19th-century Arctic explorers. This is delightful reading." -- Andrea Barrett

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