Ring of Ice: True Tales of Adventure, Exploration, and Arctic Life
Lyons Press, 2000 - History - 444 pages
Well into the nineteenth century, Arctic explorers believed that they need only their ships through a ring of ice circling the top of the globe, and from there they would tack easily on soft breezes to the North Pole. Instead, hundreds of adventurers were crushed by ice, wasted away by scurvy, and frozen to death on the ice floes in pursuit of their misguided belief. This European notion of the Arctic -- a ring with a hole in the middle -- also represents a void in which native voices have drowned. Now, this vibrant collection celebrates both the unheard voices of the Inuit and the trail of words left by the Europeans as they pushed northward to fill the hole in their knowledge.
"Ring of Ice" begins with the adventures of European explorers such as Captain Tyson and his crew, marooned by their own shipmates and forced to float precariously on a tiny iceberg for five months before being rescued. Later, twentieth-century explorers are confronted with other obstacles: Duncan Pryde, a fur-trade bachelor, finds himself unwittingly caught up in the Eskimo tradition of wife exchange and faces a difficult dilemma. Juxtaposed with these adventures are native stories and legends that add another, much needed dimension to Western understanding of polar acquisition.
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