Midnight to the North: The Untold Story of the Woman who Saved the Polaris Expedition

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Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2002 - History - 187 pages
In 1871, Charles Francis Hall's Polaris expedition set out to be the first official American party to reach the North Pole. Five months later, the Polaris had become locked in ice and Hall was dead-likely murdered. The expedition members were set adrift for six months on the icy seas: a fifteen-hundred-mile journey that all survived, thanks to the skills of Hall's translator, Tookoolito, a thirty-four-year-old woman subsequently referred to as the "Sacagawea of the Ice."

In Midnight to the North, Sheila Nickerson brings to life the emotional struggle of a wildly various group of people forced to stay together-despite one another's self-centered failings-during circumstances of extreme desperation. Imaginatively re-creating Tookoolito's life, she describes the Inuit woman's decades-long relationship with Hall; her presentation to the English court and experience as an exhibit in P. T. Barnum's museum; and the undermining of her sturdy faith in her native heritage by Hall's stern and often treacherous world.

A meticulously researched, gripping story of awesome peril and fascinating insight, Midnight to the North debunks contemporary Polaris accounts and reveals an untold side of Arctic exploration.

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MIDNIGHT TO THE NORTH: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Saved the Polaris Expedition

User Review  - Kirkus

Pushcart Prize-winner Nickerson (Disappearance: A Map, 1996) retells with glinting passion the revelatory story of Inuit explorer Tookoolito. The crux of the narrative concerns the disastrous 1871 ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - KaterinaBead - LibraryThing

How fascinating to read about an Inuit woman who can speak English like a cultured Victorian lady. I'm not certain I agree that Tookolito "saved the Polaris expedition," but having survived it is ... Read full review



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About the author (2002)

Sheila Nickerson, author of the acclaimed Disappearance: A Map, is a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize and was the poet laureate of Alaska from 1977 to 1981.

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