Fatal Passage

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Fatal Passage: The Story of John Rae, the Arctic Hero Time Forgot

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You submitted the following rating and review. We'll publish them on our site once we've reviewed them. Continue shopping. Item s unavailable for purchase. Not long after he began reading the handwritten, page diary of Scottish explorer John Rae, Ken McGoogan realized that here was an astonishing story, hidden from the world for almost years.

McGoogan, who was originally conducting research for a novel, recognized the injustice committed against Rae. After sifting through thousands of pages of research, maps and charts, and traveling to England, Scotland and the Arctic to visit the places Rae knew, McGoogan has produced a book that reads like a fast-paced novel—a smooth synthesis of adventure story, travelogue and historical biography.

Fatal Passage

Fatal Passage is a richly detailed portrait of a time when the ambitions of the Empire knew no bounds. He lived in the Canadian wilds for more than two decades, becoming legendary as a hunter and snowshoer, before he turned to exploration. Famous for what was then a unique attitude—a willingness to learn from and use the knowledge and skills of aboriginal peoples—Rae became the first European to survive an Arctic winter while living solely off the land. One of dozens of explorers and naval men commissioned by the British Admiralty to find out what became of Sir John Franklin and his two ships, Rae returned from the Arctic to report that the most glorious expedition ever launched had ended with no survivors—and worse, that it had degenerated into cannibalism.

Unwilling to accept that verdict, Victorian England not only ostracized Rae, but ignored his achievements, and credited Franklin with the discovery of the Passage. Novelist and journalist McGoogan Kerouac's Ghosts combines deft storytelling with 19th-century period detail in this gripping account of "arguably the greatest Arctic explorer of the century.

Although Sir John Franklin's earlier, attempt to find the final Northwest Passage link was "the most expensive naval expedition ever mounted" by England, it ended with the mysterious disappearance of Franklin and his entire crew. During Rae's later, successful expedition, he found proof that Franklin's crew was dead and had cannibalized their dying mates in a failed attempt to survive. When Franklin's wealthy widow, Lady Jane, began a smear campaign against Rae, she enlisted the help of Charles Dickens to write articles arguing that the Inuit "savages" who had helped Rae discover the bodies must have been the cannibals.