Resolute: The Epic Search for the Northwest Passage and John Franklin, and the Discovery of the Queen's Ghost Ship

Front Cover
Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., Apr 1, 2008 - History - 299 pages
1 Review
Almost everyone knows the photo of John F. Kennedy, Jr., as a young boy, peering out from under his father’s desk in the Oval Office. But few realize that the desk itself plays a part in one of the world’s most extraordinary mysteries--a dramatic tale that has never before been told in its full scope. Acclaimed historian Martin Sandler, a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, winner of seven Emmy® Awards, and author of more than 50 books, finally brings the entire story to light. This amazing high-seas adventure encompasses the search for the Northwest Passage in the early 1800s; a renowned explorer and his crew of 128 men who vanish during an 1845 expedition; 39 incredible, heroic attempted rescue missions; a ghost ship that drifts for more than 1,200 miles; a queen’s gratitude; and that famous desk. Fascinating rare photographs, paintings, engravings, and maps illustrate the book throughout.
It all began when, in one of the biggest news stories of the 19th century, Sir John Franklin and his ships the Erebus and the Terror disappeared while attempting to locate the fabled Northwest Passage. At the request of Franklin’s wife, Lady Jane, the first mission set out from England in hopes of finding him; many others followed in its wake, none successful. Among these was the Resolute, the finest vessel in Queen Victoria’s Navy. But in 1854 it became locked in Arctic ice and was abandoned by its captain. A year later, a Connecticut whaler discovered it 1,200 miles away drifting and deserted, a 600-ton ghost ship. He and his small crew boarded the Resolute, and steered it through a ferocious hurricane back to New London, Connecticut. The United States government then reoutfitted the ship and returned it to the thankful Queen. In 1879, when the Resolute was finally retired, she had the best timbers made into a desk for then-President Rutherford B. Hayes. It is still used by U.S. presidents of the most celebrated pieces of furniture in the White House.

What people are saying - Write a review

Resolute: The Epic Search for the Northwest Passage and John Franklin, and the Discovery of the Queen's Ghost Ship

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The prolific Sandler, who has authored many history books for children, tells an exciting tale of exploration and adventure so filled with mystery, tragedy, and speculation that, at first read, it ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dickcraig - LibraryThing

John Barrow, the Admiral of the British Navy, sent a number of expeditions to the Arctic to find the Northwest Passage. The most famous was one led by John Franklin. When his ship and crew came up ... Read full review


The Arctic Prize
First Attempts
The Man Who Ate His Boots
The Indomitable Parry
Ross Tries Again
All Hopes Rest on Franklin
The Prize at Last
Drifting and Seeking
The Search for the Records
Remarkable Gift Enduring Mystery
Plans of the HMS Resolute
John Franklins Orders

The Arctic Traffic Jam
Rescue and Abandonment
A Devastating Report and a Remarkable Journey
The Resolute Comes Home
The Triumph of the Fox
Still Searching
Picture Credits

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

Martin W. Sandler is the author of Lincoln Through the Lens and The Dust Bowl Through the Lens. He has won five Emmy Awards for his writing for television and is the author of more than sixty books, two of which have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Among Sandler's other books are the six volumes in his award-winning Library of Congress American History Series for Young People, a series which has sold more than 500,000 copies. Other books by Mr. Sandler include: Island of Hope: The Story of Ellis Island, Trapped in Ice, The Story of American Photography, The Vaqueros, America: A Celebration, and This Was America. Martin Sandler has taught American history and American studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and at Smith College. In 2014 his title, Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans during World War II, made The New York Times Best Seller List.

Bibliographic information