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Midnight to the North: The Inuit Woman Who Saved the Polaris Expedition
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"The Polaris expedition of 1871-1873 was one of the strangest tragedies in the history of Arctic exploration. Less than five months after setting out to lead the first official American party to the North Pole, the expedition's leader, Captain Charles Francis Hall, was dead, likely murdered by his crew. The Polaris was locked in ice; nineteen of its crew and passengers were forced to embark on what would be the longest ice-drift in history. Remarkably, all survived - thanks in large part to the skills of one woman, Tookoolito, Hall's thirty-four-year-old Inuit translator." "In Midnight to the North, the poet Sheila Nickerson describes how this "Sacajawea of the ice" helped sustain a wildly various group of people thrown together in desperate circumstances. Brave, resourceful, and unassuming, Tookoolito kept the expedition together - physically and emotionally - in the face of starvation, disease, freezing cold, storms, and the constant danger of being crushed by drifting ice. As the months passed, members of the group became increasingly mistrustful of one another, and cannibalism became a real and terrible threat. Although Tookoolito could have abandoned the others on several occasions, she stayed, faithful to Hall's memory." "Had it not been for the deep loyalty of this heroic but largely forgotten woman, the journey of the ill-fated Polaris might stand as a monument to the mix of bravery and madness that constituted much of early Arctic adventure. A meticulously researched, spellbinding tale of flawed motivation, desperate ambitions, and awesome peril, Midnight to the North tells the story behind the story of the Polaris: how one indigenous woman made the white man s adventure possible - and at what price."--BOOK JACKET.
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