Cover image for The search for the North West Passage
The search for the North West Passage
Savours, Ann.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
x, 342 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 25 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
G640 .S38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Savours examines the British encounters with the Esquimaux (Eskimo) and their assistance in charting the Arctic archipelago, the way yearly ice floes affected each expedition, and the boats, diet, and clothing of the early explorers. 85 illustrations.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Once sixteenth-century geographers realized the Americas were a New World, the undying hope for a short water route to the riches of Asia fostered the search for a Northwest passage through the North American land-mass and into the Pacific. Savours is one of Britain's leading experts on the history of polar explorations. In this engrossing and often exciting narrative, she provides in-depth examinations of most of the prominent expeditions that sought the elusive passage. With the skill of a novelist, Savours portrays the steely courage and determination of men who frequently endured great suffering in a frozen, unforgiving environment. She makes effective use of firsthand accounts by the explorers, and the striking illustrations enrich the text. This is a superb rendering of a series of real-life adventures. --Jay Freeman

Choice Review

As a subject the Northwest Passage has continued to attract historians and other scholars as well as a good number of informed writers. In this well-documented work Savours has used material in the manuscripts departments at Greenwich, England, and Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University, to good effect. The illustrations, many of which have not previously appeared in print, add a rich and in some way new dimension to the corpus of work on the Northwest Passage. However, the book covers traditional ground and is a long narrative with scarcely a pause for analysis. There is no theoretical construct or postulation. In the early 19th century British exploration was urged on grounds that Russia might well discover the passage. One wishes Savours had provided a broader understanding of how the British came to take up the search as a means of keeping interlopers--Russian, American, and others--out of the field. Henry Larsen's account of the fabled Royal Canadian Mounted Police Schooner St. Roch in The North-West Passage 1940-1942 and 1944 (1948) concludes the book on a Canadian note. General readers; researchers. B. M. Gough; Wilfrid Laurier University