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The Gates of Hell: Sir John Franklin's Tragic Quest for the North West Passage


The Gates of Hell: Sir John Franklin's Tragic Quest for the North West Passage Cover


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Publisher Comments:

Andrew Lambert, a leading authority on naval history, reexamines the life of Sir John Franklin and his final, doomed Arctic voyage. Franklin was a man of his time, fascinated, even obsessed with, the need to explore the world; he had already mapped nearly two-thirds of the northern coastline of North America when he undertook his third Arctic voyage in 1845, at the age of fifty-nine.

His two ships were fitted with the latest equipment; steam engines enabled them to navigate the pack ice, and he and his crew had a three-year supply of preserved and tinned food and more than one thousand books. Despite these preparations, the voyage ended in catastrophe: the ships became imprisoned in the ice, and the men were wracked by disease and ultimately wiped out by hypothermia, scurvy, and cannibalism.

Franklins mission was ostensibly to find the elusive North West Passage, a viable sea route between Europe and Asia reputed to lie north of the American continent. Lambert shows for the first time that there were other scientific goals for the voyage and that the disaster can only be understood by reconsidering the original objectives of the mission. Franklin, commonly dismissed as a bumbling fool, emerges as a more important and impressive figure, in fact, a hero of navigational science.

About the Author

Andrew Lambert, Ph.D., is Laughton Professor of Naval History in the Depart­ment of War Studies at Kings College, London, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He wrote and presented the 2004 BBC television series War at Sea.

Product Details

Sir John Franklin's Tragic Quest for the North West Passage
Lambert, Andrew
Yale University Press
Modern - 19th Century
North American
Adventurers & Explorers
Expeditions & Discoveries
Polar Regions
Maritime History
World History-General
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
8 color illus.
9 x 5.81 in 1.35 lb

Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » Arctic and Antarctic » General
History and Social Science » Native American » General Native American Studies
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » General
Transportation » Nautical » Nautical Lore
Travel » Travel Writing » Arctic and Antarctic

The Gates of Hell: Sir John Franklin's Tragic Quest for the North West Passage Used Hardcover
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Product details 456 pages Yale University Press - English 9780300154856 Reviews:
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