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Frozen In Time: The Fate of The Franklin Expedition

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  1,049 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
"Simply compelling."--Mordecai Richler. "A cautionary tale of scholarly merit."--William S. Burroughs. "Chilling...will keep you up nights turning pages."--Peter Gorner, The Chicago Tribune. In 1845, Sir John Franklin set off, determined to "penetrate the icy fastness" of the Arctic. But he and his 129 men never made it. For the next 35 years, more than 20 major rescue par ...more
Paperback, 185 pages
Published June 30th 1998 by Greystone (first published 1987)
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"Oh! Is that a zombie book?!"
- Millie, my five year-old daughter, when she saw the cover of Frozen in Time

My oldest daughter Millie has just started paying attention to my reading. Generally, this is a good thing. In terms of modeling behavior, reading a book is better than drinking a glass full of Yellow Tail chardonnay and ice cubes, or playing video games, or doing both at once.

It has also led to some interesting conversations.

A couple weeks ago, I was finishing a book called Scorpions, abo
Jun 28, 2009 Shannaynay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Never, ever, ever go on an expedition in the arctic.....NEVER.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 08, 2012 Punk rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers who enjoyed Dan Simmons' The Terror
Non-Fiction. The Franklin Expedition left England in 1845, made a stop in Greenland, met up with some whalers by an iceberg, and then disappeared into the Canadian Arctic forever, leaving behind two message cylinders, hundreds of tin cans, and three marked graves.

I recently read Dan Simmons' The Terror, a fictional account of the Franklin expedition, and became fascinated by the subject. I wanted to learn more about the history of the expedition so I wouldn't leave the topic under the mistaken i
Haunting, distributing, atmospheric and educational - Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition is this and more.

From detailed source accounts comprising a bevy of topics (the nutritional value tinned cans as food aboard the ships, letters to the sailors from loved ones, and more), this chilling tale of the doomed Franklin Expedition to the Arctic to chart the North Passage is a historians and general interest readers' delight - despite the macabre and detailed exhumation of frozen co
Mar 29, 2008 R.Friend rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
I recently rediscovered this fascinating book...

I happened upon it by chance way back in 1990, when it jumped out at me at a B. Dalton Bookseller. Morbid, I know, but the idea of frozen corpses from 1845 looking as if they'd died yesterday—or stranger still, as if they hadn't died at all—is incredibly intriguing. To me, at least. And apparently to the girl I was dating at the time, as she totally kept my copy.

I recently came across something about the Franklin expedition and began to recall ho
This is the study that re-define or "solved" the mystery of Franklin (you know, one of those stories where white men act like stupid white men). The introduction is by Atwood, and the thesis is proven pretty well. It is a good read, even with the science.
William Battersby
Jun 26, 2011 William Battersby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the epochal books about the Franklin Expedition.

At the time Owen Beattie's perception in identifying lead poisoning as a cause of the disaster was perhaps the biggest step forward since the nineteeth century. Having formed this hypothesis from examining bone fragments from King William Island, he then masterminded the autopsies of the three men buried at Beechey Island, which further validated the hypothesis.

The book takes us through the problem as Beattie saw it and gives a gene
Aug 22, 2011 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, history
Three-and-a-half stars - four because I finally got to see the photographs of the Franklin mummies again after thirty years, three because the author writes in this weird third-person-semi-omniscient style that could have used some interviews with the scientists involved.
John Lucy
Nov 14, 2013 John Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Riveting. Who knew a book about a failed sailing exploration in the 19th century could be so great? I certainly didn't and I was pleasantly surprised.

Half the book covers the British obsession with Arctic exploration in the 19th century, hoping to find the Northwest Passage, obviously with a special focus on the failed and lost exploration of Sir John Franklin. Even if you don't already know about Franklin's expedition and have no interest in it, you can still find this book very interesting and
Jul 25, 2011 Vicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This slim volume offers revelations and surprises for anyone interested in the modern investigation into the ill-fated 1845 expedition of Sir John Franklin and crew to discover the Northwest Passage. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that distilling the story down to forensic data and clinical examination and testing does not rob the Franklin expedition of any of its historic and mythic resonance. Indeed, these new details add a poignant human dimension to the Franklin legend, including som ...more
♥ Marlene♥
Jan 19, 2011 ♥ Marlene♥ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting book. Just worth it for the photos of the frozen bodies alone. Wow. Maybe I should have read this book before I read The fictional Terror by Dan Simmons. Now I see how much he has taken from this book.
Anyways thanks to the reburial and examination of the 3 sailors of the lost Franklin expedition we have learned a little bit of what happened to them.

It is clear that the biggest reason is as always money. The Navy decided to go with a new provisioner for the food who offered it at cut
May 29, 2013 Don rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommend to anyone interested in the history of polar expeditions, the search for the northwest passage and even medical history. A very thorough account of what doomed the Franklin Expedition.

Pieces together what most likely happened by using available forensic and anthropological evidence, along with historical documents from initial rescue attempts/investigations and first-hand Inuit accounts (seeing emaciated white sailors wandering aimlessly across the Arctic ice, mouths black and d
Ann Helen
Jan 08, 2016 Ann Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Yet by far the strongest and most vivid memory Beattie has of this remarkable event centers not around the final thawing of Torrington's body in the coffin, but on the lifting of the body out of the grave in preparation for autopsy"..." they moved him his head lolled onto Beattie's left shoulder; Beattie looked directly into Torrington's half opened eyes, only a few inches from his own. There was no rigidity of his body, and rigor mortis would have disappeared within hours of his death. Al ...more
Dena Norman
The author flips back and forth between too many details and interesting narrative, leaving the whole point of this book disjointed. The epilogue really frustrated me by giving information that could have been used IN the story but was instead used to prove what the research failed to prove in all the hundreds of pages before it. I feel like I had just as difficult a time reading the book as Beattie had writing it, even though the tale needs to be told. It just should have happened with a consis ...more
Jan 12, 2017 Vojta rated it it was amazing
I was hooked on the whole thing about the Franklin's expedition from the very moment I got my hands on The Terror by Dan Simmons. And this, being a matter of fact, is even more WTF (in the good way, of course). Who can meet their ancestors face to face after they have been dead for over 130 years?! ... PS: TV-series by AMC are on the way.
 (shan) Littlebookcove
The franklin expedition has fascinated me since I first read about it. This book unlike Dan shimmon's book based on this. Gives a detailed history of the franklin expedition, as well as modern day facts as to why the crew's of the boat's perished in such terrible way's All in all a fascinating read.
Jan 25, 2010 SL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Arctic is cold, man.
Jul 07, 2012 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Learned so much. Love arctic stuff.
Jessie Bates
Jun 10, 2017 Jessie Bates rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read. The writing was excellent and the way the author added the scientific data with the emotional side of the loss of life was remarkable. At times it was hard to put the book down. I wanted to keep reading and keep learning about what discoveries they found and conclusions they reached.
Taylor Roades
Read in NWT and the Yukon - felt the polar conditions, the Franklin expedition endured on a smaller scale made this book eerie as hell.
Janette Fleming
Aug 24, 2013 Janette Fleming rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Franklin expedition was not alone in suffering early and unexplained deaths. Indeed, both Back (1837) and Ross (1849) suffered early onset of unaccountable "debility" aboard ship and Ross suffered greater fatalities during his single winter in the Arctic than did Franklin during his first. Both expeditions were forced to retreat because of the rapacious illness that stalked their ships.

Frozen in Time makes the case that this illness (starting with the Back expedition) was due to the crews'
Okay. I'm still reading this one--I've picked it back up for the first time since August--and I do have a couple things to say.

One: If you're looking for a good history-history of the Franklin expedition (that is, "so-and-so died on this day, then they moved to blarghargh"), then this might not be the book for you. (I'm still searching for good books on this subject; I have The Man Who Ate His Boots: The Tragic History of the Search for the Northwest Passage sitting next to my bed, and I've alre

Folk som dør i isøde er omtrent en fetisj for meg, så jeg trodde jeg skulle elske denne, - og er fremdeles litt usikker på hvorfor jeg ikke gjorde det. Noe av årsaken er nok at Bea Uusumas Ekspedisjonen har gitt meg urealistisk høye forventninger til denne typen bøker. Uusumas bok er mye mer levende skrevet (Beattie er pinlig nøyaktig inn i kjedsommeligheten, selv om han forsøker å sprite opp i historien med å fortelle om tamme isbjørnangrep), men har også et mer takknemlig utgangspunkt: det
This is a fantastic book!

The book is presented in two sections. Part 1 outlines some of the history behind the Franklin expedition and chronicles the subsequent rescue missions from the late 1940s and 1850s and their findings. Part 1 contains striking artwork from that time period depicting the Arctic landscape, the ships, skeletons found at the boat place, as well as photos of some of the ship captains. While I enjoyed the historical chapters, I found Part 2 to be the more interesting part of t
Ronald Kelland
Nov 02, 2013 Ronald Kelland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a seminal book for anybody with an interest in the Franklin Expedition, so, as a person who is fascinated with all things Franklin, I am somewhat surprised that it has taken me so many years to get around to reading it myself. This slim volume is a description of a multi-year archaeological and forensic investigation into the deaths of three victims of the Franklin expedition. The book offers a very brief history of the tragic expedition before diving into the exhumation of the graves. I ...more
Victor Gibson
Feb 05, 2012 Victor Gibson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The disappearance of the Franklin Expedition is one of those unsolved events that has engaged explorers and scientists, ever since they failed to return from their attempt to find the Northwest passage. Subsequent expeditions fared not much better and their efforts to find Franklin and his shipmates is fascinating. Since reading this book I have read several about exploration into the Antarctic and the ships used for the Franklin expedition, Terror and Erebus, are commemorated in the names of tw ...more
Nov 30, 2014 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I breezed through this one after stumbling across a YouTube video about this expedition. This whole "explore the arctic thing", was flat out whacked. To spend time on a ship in the dead cold, with barely anything to eat and no guarantee that you will ever get out of there, seems nuts. But most pioneers in anything were a little.

This book was awesome to me for many different reasons. It literally puts you into the desolation that is the arctic. The descriptions are so complete, that this book mad
Oct 07, 2011 Graziella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read The Terror by Dan Simmons a few years ago, I found this book to be a fascinating read: a modern-day forensic analysis of the fate of the Franklin expedition, lost in their attempt to find the Northwest Passage across the frozen Canadian waters. What can be more unsettling and fascinating than losing into those remote wastes several hundred well equipped men, ultiamtely going years on morbid conjecture with scant evidence: all folks knew were that they were truly lost and had probably ...more
Being a fan of both maritime and arctic exploration history, I found this book to be very interesting and educational. I have become quite familiar with the more common problems and conditions that arise during these type of voyages. In this book, a previously unrecognized ailment that likely contributed to failure and death on many voyages was exposed. As with a lot of new technology, the good is realized first, then in time, the bad rears it's ugly head. I don't want to spoil the story in anyw ...more
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