Cover image for By airship to the North Pole : an archaeology of human exploration
By airship to the North Pole : an archaeology of human exploration
Capelotti, P. J. (Peter Joseph), 1960-
Publication Information:
New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xix, 209 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
G587 .C36 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



By Airship to the North Pole chronicles the adventures of Swedish engineer Salomon August Andree, who made the first failed attempt to reach the North Pole in a hydrogen balloon in 1897, and of American journalist Walter Wellman who organized and led three unsuccessful air expeditions from 1907 to 1909. The book investigates the stories behind the quests to reach this remote and inhospitable outpost by air and examines how those stories were created and reported by the press. What he uncovers allows readers to reflect on the distortions of the written historical record, particularly unkind to Wellman, and what that may tell us about our own age of exploration as we look to the last frontiers in space.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This somewhat curious but engaging book focuses on the Arctic expeditions of S.A. Andree, a Swedish engineer, and an American journalist, Walter Wellman. Andree made an ill-fated attempt to complete the first balloon voyage over the North Pole in 1897, an effort that took his life as well as that of his two companions. The fate of Andree and his crew, lost in the Polar vastness, was a mystery until 1930, when their remains were discovered by a Norwegian sealer. Wellman tried to fly over the North Pole by balloon between 1907 and 1909 and also failed, despite strong support from his Chicago newspaper. Capelotti, a university lecturer and archaeologist, explored the polar surroundings of these events in order to understand more about the explorers, their plans and preparations, and the early-20th-century technology they hoped to use in conquering nature. He also discusses the era's fascination with polar expeditions. Buttressed by extensive use of newspapers, archival sources, and site analysis, Capelotti has written an interesting analysis of human exploration that probes several remaining questions about these expeditions from a late-20th-century point of view. General readers; undergraduates. R. E. Bilstein; University of Houston--Clear Lake