At the end of World War I large areas at the top and bottom of the globe were still vast, cold mysteries. Into these blanks on the map explorers flew, urged on by their sponsors to achieve "firsts," by their governments to claim new land, and by a public fascinated with moving pictures and radio broadcasts. In March 1926 Wilkins and Byrd, along with veteran explorer Roald Amundsen, were locked in a race to the North Pole. A year later, while Amundsen was involved in the bitter dispute that cost him his life, Byrd announced he would fly to the South Pole. Wilkins was hired to beat him. Late in 1928 they unloaded their planes on opposite sides of Antarctica and prepared for the last great race in polar history. It was a race that ensured Byrd's place as an American icon and during his life no one dared question his claims. It was only after his death that he was accused of being "the greatest fraud in polar history." Wilkins died in 1958 and disappeared from the history books after his wife locked away his records and diaries. Wings of Ice lays out clues then challenges the reader to solve an 80-year-old mystery, while bringing to light an untold story of courage, daring, and adventure.
Maynard makes the risks and raw heroism of the past vivid to us today, and understandable in an immediate human way. This is a fun and inspiring read for people who enjoy a good true story. Anyone who appreciates the outdoors and has ever pitted themselves against climate and terrain will be impressed. But most especially, historians will be challenged--to make their renditions as engaging. Something of the author was there on the ice with these men. You can feel it. And that's a testament to the quality of the research and the depth of the writing. Beyond a great yarn and a brilliant movie idea, why should you care about polar exploration? This book has a ready answer--and moves you out onto that same ice.
|Book:||Wings Of Ice: The Mystery Of The Polar Air Race|
|Publisher:||Random House Australia|
|Number of Pages:||304|
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