Kathleen's Reviews > The Man Who Ate His Boots: The Tragic History of the Search for the Northwest Passage

The Man Who Ate His Boots by Anthony Brandt
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's review
May 10, 2012

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bookshelves: history, non-fiction, read-in-2012, travel
Read in May, 2012

History isn't written by the victor, it's written by the most kick ass wife on the winning side. Seriously, just about the only name associated with the Northwest Passage that I knew before reading this book was John Franklin's. It turns out that he didn't travel the furthest or suffer the most in the arctic ice, while he was a great adventurer, there is no proof that he ever even found a Northwest Passage. At most, he died in the vicinity of one. Luckily, he had an incredible wife who ensured that he got plenty of posthumous credit and a lyric in a folk song or two.

As for Parry, Ross, and McClintock, they have their stories told as well. With far less shady cannibalism and Inuit abuse, I actually prefer their stories to Franklin's. Yet because of his disappearance, Franklin remains the most romantic character of all. From what I've read, I think that might have pleased him.

This is a very well put together history of the British exploration of the arctic. I recommend it for anyone who likes British Naval Histories. You know who you are.
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