Cover image for Ring of ice : true tales of adventure, exploration, and Arctic life
Ring of ice : true tales of adventure, exploration, and Arctic life
Stark, Peter, 1954-
Publication Information:
New York : Lyons Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xix, 444 pages : 1 map ; 24 cm
Added Author:
Format :


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Material Type
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G608 .R52 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A wide-ranging, marvelous compilation of explorations at the top of the world.

Author Notes

Peter Stark has traveled widely in the Arctic on assignment for Outside, Smithsonian, and other magazines

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Arctic exploration accounts have never been more popular, which justifies editor Stark's anthology of excerpts from some of the earliest and most famous of them. The passages he has selected are vivid, frigid, and often bloody. They should enthrall armchair seekers of the Northwest Passage, the North Pole, and the culture of the Inuit. Emphasizing Inuit culture, Stark prefaces each selection with an Inuit myth or song and devotes one section of the book to contemporary accounts of Inuit relations with non-Inuits. Stark may thereby strike a modern, multicultural note, but the old theme of breasting danger and daring disaster still carries the day in reports extending from that of Vitus Bering's 1741 demise to Samuel Hearne's on a massacre of Inuit in the 1770s to those of aspects of the fabled Franklin catastrophe of the 1840s. By the 1890s, the likes of Nansen and Amundsen prepared more methodically than their predecessors and filled in the map's last blanks in relative comfort. A fine re-presentation of Arctic annals, past and present. --Gilbert Taylor

Table of Contents

Georg Wilhelm Steller (German, 1741)Samuel Hearne (British, 1771)John Franklin and Dr. John Richardson (British, 1820)Johann August Miertsching (German, 1850-54)Dr. I. I. Hayes (American, 1854)Dr. John Rae (British, 1854)Captain George E. Tyson (American, 1871)Lieutenant George W. DeLong (American, 1881)Adolphus Greely (American, 1884) and Commander W. S. Schley (American, 1884)Fridtjof Nansen (Norwegian, 1895)Dr. Frederick A. Cook (American, 1908)Roald Amundsen (Norwegian, 1927)Umberto Nobile (Italian, 1928)Comock (Canadian Inuit, 1912)Vilhjalmur Stefansson (Canadian, 1917)Knud Rasmussen (Greenlandic, 1922)Gontran de Poncins (French, 1941)Duncan Pryde (British, 1971)Marie Herbert (British, 1973)Jean Malaurie (French, 1976)Minnie Aodla Freeman (Canadian Inuit, 1978)Richard K. Nelson (American, 1980)Finn Lynge (Greenlandic, 1983)Barry Lopez (American, 1986)Will Steger with Paul Schurke (American, 1987)Rachel A. Qitsualik (Canadian Inuit, 1998)Jon Turk (American, 1998)Gretel Ehrlich (American, 1997)
Introductionp. xv
Book I The Search for the Northwest Passage
Steller Has the Last Laughp. 5
Samuel Hearne Witnesses a Massacrep. 27
Franklin's First Retreatp. 39
The Crew of the Investigator Makes a Narrow Escapep. 71
How Dr. Hayes Learned to Love Seal Blubberp. 89
The Lost Franklin Foundp. 103
Tyson's Wonderful Driftp. 109
Book II The Push to the Pole
DeLong's Last Wordsp. 155
The Rescue of Greelyp. 169
Nansen Strolls "Farthest North"p. 185
Minik Demands His Father's Bodyp. 193
Cook Makes a Claim on the Pole and Asks: "Was It Worth It?"p. 203
Amundsen Answers, "Yes."p. 215
The Short, Unhappy Hight of the Italiap. 221
Book III The Search to Understand
The Story of Comock the Eskimop. 241
Stefansson's Crucial Caribou Huntp. 263
Rasmussen Meets the Iglulik Eskimosp. 273
Kabloona: A Visit to Father Henry's Ice Cavep. 291
Fur Trade Bachelorp. 311
Baby Kari Goes to the Arcticp. 329
An American City Sprouts on the Hunting Groundsp. 341
I Am in the Middlep. 347
A Seal Hunt in the Moon of the Returning Sunp. 355
Book IV The New Explorers
Some Primitive People's Reflections...p. 373
Arctic Dreamsp. 377
A Modern-Day Mush to the Polep. 385
Tale of a Hunter's Daughterp. 401
Cold Oceans: By Sea Kayak to Greenlandp. 409
Sun and Shadow: Waiting for Sunrise in the Greenlandic Nightp. 427
Contributorsp. 439
Contents of Poetry
The Uncertain Lifep. xx
Charm for Good Weatherp. 4
The Widow's Songp. 26
I Wonder Where?p. 38
Greeting to the Women of the Feasting-housep. 70
Charm for Seal Blubberp. 88
Song of a Dead Onep. 102
Song to Springp. 108
The Great Seap. 150
Hungerp. 154
My Breathp. 168
The Sun and the Moon and the Fear of Lonelinessp. 184
The Abductionp. 192
Song of Derision about Wife-Swappingp. 200
Dispute between Womenp. 212
The Wide Road of Songp. 220
Walrusp. 240
Reindeerp. 262
Spirit Songp. 272
Song of a Diffident Manp. 290
Men's Impotencep. 310
Work Songp. 328
Song of a Motherp. 340
Song of the Lemmingp. 346
Dancing Songp. 354
I Will Walk With Leg Musclesp. 368
Prayer for Strengthp. 372
Hymn to the Spirit of the Airp. 376
Song to the Seap. 384
A Hunting Memoryp. 400
Delight in Singingp. 408
Greeting to Dayp. 426
An Old Woman's Songp. 438