The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure

The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure
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Release Date
February 14, 2012
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In 1897, whaling in the Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast was as dangerous as it was lucrative. And in that particular year, winter blasted early, bringing storms and ice packs that caught eight American whale ships and three hundred sailors off guard. Their ships locked in ice, with no means of escape, the whalers had limited provisions on board, and little hope of surviving until warmer temperatures arrived many months later. Here is the incredible story of three men sent by President McKinley to rescue them. The mission? A perilous trek over 1,500 miles of nearly impassable Alaskan terrain, in the bone-chilling months of winter, to secure two herds of reindeer (for food) and find a way to guide them to the whalers before they starve. With the help of photographs and journal entries by one of the rescuers, Martin W. Sandler takes us on every step of their riveting journey, facing raging blizzards, killing cold, injured sled dogs, and setbacks to test the strongest of wills.

Editor review

1 review
Adventure and Survival in the Arctic
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
For an event that happened in 1897, the author was able to pull together a huge amount of primary source material, from photographs to journals to official correspondence. I had never heard about this, and found it interesting that even after so much effort was expended to bring the whalers home, little was said about it in the newspapers of the day because the US had just entered a war with Spain.
Good Points
This is a beautiful book, well illustrated with period photographs, and very complete in its coverage. The bibliography has a lot of other books on similar topics. Readers who like survival stories will enjoy this.
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