To the Ends of the Earth: The Truth Behind the Glory of Polar Exploration [EPUB]

To the Ends of the Earth: The Truth Behind the Glory of Polar Exploration [EPUB]
To the Ends of the Earth: The Truth Behind the Glory of Polar Exploration by John V H Dippel
2018 | EPUB | 2.9MB

This fascinating social history of polar expeditions examines the cultural trends that produced these daring, even reckless journeys.

From the late-17th to the early 20th century, intrepid explorers from America and Europe risked (and sometimes lost) their lives exploring the forbidding, uncharted landscapes of the Arctic and Antarctica. What drove these men to undertake these seemingly impossible journeys? In this deeply researched book, author John Dippel makes a convincing case that dozens of polar expeditions were motivated less by courageous idealism than personal ambition and national rivalries.

The author traces the ways in which men of unbridled ambition responded to society's need for heroes by masking their true intentions behind patriotic sentiments or noble claims about advancing science. In so doing they frequently put their own lives and those of the men in their command at enormous risk. At the same time, they projected an attitude of cultural superiority, looking down on indigenous arctic people. Their disrespect and ignorance of native means of transportation, diet, shelter, and knowledge of the terrain often led explorers into disaster, where men perished from starvation and exposure or nearly lost their minds. In the end, the failure of so many polar expeditions exposed the limits of humanity's control of nature and helped to undermine faith in inevitable progress.

Readers who have heard of the incredible exploits of such famous explorers as Robert F. Scott, Roald Amundsen, James Cook, and Robert Peary will find in this book an intriguing explanation for what impelled these men to endure unimaginable cold, near-starvation, and years of isolation at the ends of the earth.