Death on the Barrens: A True Story of Courage and Tragedy in the Canadian Arctic

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North Atlantic Books, Jun 1, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 296 pages

Set in the remote arctic region of Northern Canada, this book takes readers on a harrowing canoe voyage that results in tragedy, redemption, and, ultimately, transformation. George Grinnell was one of six young men who set off on the 1955 expedition led by experienced wilderness canoeist Art Moffatt. Poorly planned and executed, the journey seemed doomed from the start. Ignoring the approaching winter, the men became entranced with the peace and beauty of the arctic in autumn. As winter closed in, they suddenly faced numbing cold and dwindling food. When the crew is swept over a waterfall, Moffatt is killed and most of the gear and emergency food supplies destroyed. Confronting freezing conditions and near starvation, the remaining crew struggled to make it back to civilization. For Grinnell, the three-month expedition was both a rite of passage and a spiritual odyssey. In the Barrens, he lost his sense of identity and what he had been conditioned to think about society and himself. Forever changed by the experience, he unsparingly describes how the expedition influenced his adult life and what powerful insights he was able to glean from this life-altering experience.

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User Review  - sharlene_w - LibraryThing

This book took me nearly two years to read. I set it down frequently and read other books, but always felt compelled to come back and finish the story. The author spends a lot of time in the book with ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MtnSk8tr - LibraryThing

I read DEATH ON THE BARRENS almost immediately after receiving it, and found the story compelling. So, why my 8-month delay to review it? It may be related to the reasons the author waited so many ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

George Grinnell taught the history of science and intellectual history at McMaster University in Ontario from 1967 to 1991. He currently teaches meditation classes and lives in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Artist Roderick MacIver is the founder of Heron Dance, a nonprofit organization that celebrates the human connection to nature through art and words.

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