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Ghosts of Cape Sabine: The Harrowing True Story of the Greely Expedition
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Ghosts of Cape Sabine: The Harrowing True Story of the Greely Expedition

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  141 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
The Arctic's most notorious expedition...

A true story of mutiny, madness, suicide, and cannibalism.

In Icebound, acclaimed historian Leonard F. Guttridge told a "truly exciting" (Atlantic Monthly) and "gripping tale" (Washington Post) of exploration that was "well worth reading." (New York Times) Now, he uncovers a notorious true story of man against nature-and the nature
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by Berkley Trade (first published February 7th 2000)
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Jul 26, 2012 Amerynth rated it did not like it
Unfortunately, I found Leonard F. Guttridge's "Ghosts of Cape Sabine" too poorly written to enjoy. This should have been a great, epic tale of the Greeley expedition's misfortunes while spending years exploring the arctic. The story itself is fairly dramatic and interesting-- there is plenty of source material to make this a story worth telling.

Under Guttridge's pen, the story is extremely difficult to follow and unskillfully woven. (I defy you to find a paragraph in this book that does not men
Jun 15, 2011 Dennis rated it really liked it
While the book was not spellbinding from cover to cover, it offered an interesting insight into the tragic Greeley expedition that set a record for treking the furthest north, thus taking the record away from Britain. What followed their stay in Fort Conger, the northern most outpost, and their trek south to ultimately be rescued on Cape Sabine led to controversary and recriminations. While Greely may have been considered a good leader, his lack of knowledge of the Arctic contributed to the larg ...more
Jan 28, 2009 Unwisely rated it liked it
Shelves: arctic, 2009
Okay, this is another gripping tale of arctic exploration and the race for Farthest North. This time it's an American expedition. They have the usual logistical, weather, and leadership problems that seem to plague most of the expeditions, combined with political dithering and flubbed rescue attempts. Pretty exciting stuff...except the dry-as-dust narration manages to suck most of the excitement out of it.

It's not that it's not well-researched, because it is, it's just that there are some reall
Feb 25, 2016 Ethan rated it really liked it
Guttridge tells the story of an Army expedition to the High Arctic in 1881 to set up a scientific monitoring station as part of a world wide polar scientific study. 21 men arrived at Lady Franklin Bay, only 6 would return home 3 years later. The story is a fascinating counter example to the later expeditions of Shackleton, Amundsen and Scott. Greely was an Army Signal Corpse Officer, who had no naval or Arctic experience and with the exception of his surgeon, none of his men did. Greely was also ...more
William Battersby
Jun 26, 2011 William Battersby rated it really liked it
A well written account of a truly terrifying but relatively little know event. Having eery parallels with the Franklin Expedition, a group of US servicemen were left in the high Arctic with ample supplies and every convenience of modern (late nineteenth century) live. We watch them as, through a series of coincidences, ll of this is gradually stripped away and we see them left desperate, starving and freezing. Most died and the rescue of the few survivor seems like something out of the Arctic ve ...more
Oct 20, 2012 Jeanne rated it really liked it
Twenty-five men led by Greely set off to the North Pole for a science expedition that is slated for a year of study that turns into three years of frozen hell and starvation. The U.S. government had a lackluster interest in funding the research to begin with, and then less so after completion of the first year. Left with provisions for a year and then stretching into three miserably frozen years, pretty much gives you the scope o their miserable existence. Compounding the disastrous expedition w ...more
Feb 10, 2013 Walt rated it really liked it
In my view, the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition is the worst polar venture ever attemped. You have to have a very strong heart to read it all. When in the last part of the book, you just wish God the misery those men lived will be over shortly. You find yourself hurrying the relief ships to arrive.

What those poor men experienced was intolerable, and the author puts it cleanly on paper.

So, yes, Shackelton's Endurace voyage, Mawson's forced solo march without food in Antarctica and the Robert Falcon
Dan Bertalan
Mar 10, 2014 Dan Bertalan rated it it was amazing
And we think we have a bad day sometimes... OMG
Sep 08, 2013 krin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history
Last year I read North by Roger Hubank, a fictional account of the Greely expedition. Afterwards, I wanted to read an historical account of the Greeley expedition. In this book, I learned more about problems with the first two relief attempts. I liked Guttridge's detailed end notes describing the sources from institutions such as the National Archives and the Library of Congress.
Excellent account of an Arctic expedition gone horribly wrong. The author includes not just the grisly details of the expedition itself, but the political fighting in Washington and the two failed relief attempts. The times, names and faces may change, but politics will always be politics and, like the poor, will always be with us.
Frederick Bingham
The story of the Greely expedition, sent to the arctic for some obscure purpose in the late 19th century. Most of the members of the expedition ended up dying. The survivors had to eat the dead to survive. This is what happens when you send stupid people into a potentially dangerous situation.
Feb 28, 2008 Brian rated it liked it
I liked this book, sort of as an exercise in schadenfreude. Dude had no idea what he was doing and ended up dooming his entire party, surviving the last few months by basically hiding in their tents. Ghastly.
Jul 08, 2009 Barb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a breathless story of adventure and tragedy! Another story of Arctic exploration that makes you wonder why powerful people are often so myopic and foolish. Well-written, historic, and amazing.
Dec 24, 2007 Strawfoot rated it it was ok
got this from Jess' dad....arctic expedition gone wrong, but a true story. It was boring as hell and should have had at least 100 pages chopped out. Read the fictional Terror. It is much better.
May 26, 2010 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, adult
This took way too long for me to read. The story of the expedition built for 200 pages before anything "exciting" (read horrifying)actually started to happen.
Beth A
Jul 29, 2011 Beth A rated it really liked it
Amazing, true story of survival in the Artice in 1818. An ill-fated voyage.
Sep 02, 2012 Rick added it
Very well done, interesting insights on the Greely Expeditions
Nov 18, 2009 J. rated it it was ok
depress me more please. Excuse me while I eat my shoelaces.
Mar 11, 2008 William rated it really liked it
Great adventure and human folly story
Tim Petersik
Jun 02, 2012 Tim Petersik rated it really liked it
"Harrowing" is the right word.
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