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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really can't recommend `Dangerous Work' too highly
The most important of the many books recently sent me for review is certainly the long-awaited `"Dangerous Work": Diary of an Arctic Adventure' by Arthur Conan Doyle. The `adventure', of course, is Conan Doyle's six-month voyage as ship's surgeon on the Peterhead whaling ship Hope, and the contrast with 'The Narrative of John Smith', also edited by Jon Lellenberg & Daniel...
Published on 21 Sept. 2012 by Ye Olde Ed

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good illustrations, but thin on content
A good-looking book but the actual diary (presented twice, once in facsimile and repeated in typeset) is a little thin. The illustrations are well produced.
Published 5 months ago by Irresponsible aunty


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really can't recommend `Dangerous Work' too highly, 21 Sept. 2012
By 
Ye Olde Ed (Chelmsford, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure (Hardcover)
The most important of the many books recently sent me for review is certainly the long-awaited `"Dangerous Work": Diary of an Arctic Adventure' by Arthur Conan Doyle. The `adventure', of course, is Conan Doyle's six-month voyage as ship's surgeon on the Peterhead whaling ship Hope, and the contrast with 'The Narrative of John Smith', also edited by Jon Lellenberg & Daniel Stashower, could hardly be greater. `Dangerous Work' is a quite magnificent production, with the young medical student's journal reproduced page by page in full colour, the handwriting assured and clear throughout, and the drawings indicating that he might, had he dedicated himself to it, have made a name for himself as an illustrator, like his uncle and his grandfather. Following the facsimile is a transcript of the text, with annotations that genuinely enhance our appreciation of Conan Doyle's fascinating first-hand account of a dangerous, courageous and by then dying trade. This big beautiful volume concludes with four later works that were inspired by the author's experiences in the frozen ocean: two articles, `The Glamour of the Arctic' and `Life on a Greenland Whaler', an outstanding ghost story, `The Captain of the Pole Star', and a tale that needs no introduction, `The Adventure of Black Peter'. I really can't recommend `Dangerous Work' too highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant early discovery..., 12 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure (Hardcover)
An absolutely fabulous book. If you are in any way an Arthur Conan Doyle fan then I cannot recommend this book enough. It is one of his earliest works, presumably never intended for publishing seeing as he had ample opportunity to do so himself, and yet it still retains the fun and tight narrative that he employed in his fiction later on.

The book revolves around his 6/7 month journey through the Arctic on a whaling expedition to bring oil, blubber and bone back to sell. Naturally, there are some graphic depictions of events throughout so if you are especially sensitive to animal cruelty then maybe this isn't the book to read. It does help to remember that this was in a completely different era and that it wasn't for sport but for keeping people in work and able to survive. Arthur himself does say numerous times throughout what a shame it is to have to make the 'poor brutes' suffer.

He maintained an official log for the SS Hope but what we have here is his own personal recollections of the entire journey with no day missed, despite how dismal and uneventful some days were. So while we are given the statistics on longitude and latitude, the wind direction, the haul of the day and specific events, we also get an insight into a 20 year old Doyle and how the whole experience shaped him.

Some of the highlights for me were:

- His recounting of a tale from their Captain of how he almost lost his life in London many years back.
- His description of one of the crew of the ship; a 'handsome outlaw' that would stalk around the ship mysteriously and rarely say a word to anyone but had a vicious temper on him. The vivid description was worthy of a piece of fiction and you almost wanted him to be a main character in another Arctic story.
- Arthur's description of a dream he had that is just dripping with anxiety. Anyone that has ever had a dream about missing out on an exam will be able to empathise completely.
- His attachment to a sea snail - 'John Thomas' - that he catches from the Arctic depths.

It's a great account of whaling and Arctic travel in the late 1800's as well as seeing Arthur's early encounters in his medical capacity.

On a more broad view, the book is beautifully put together. It is a nice coffee table size, not exactly made for portability but it can be done. It has a dust jacket and a blank cover underneath. There is an introduction describing how the journey came about and the general impact it had on Arthur's life before going into the actual content. It is split into three journals and they are all presented as facsimiles of the actual journals themselves. For a medico in training, Arthur has surprisingly neat handwriting that isn't too difficult to read once you get used to the repetition of certain words and his style of writing. But for ease of reading, the whole journal has been annotated in the second part along with numerous footnotes to elaborate on certain points with explanation or further source background. It also includes two letters that he sent home to his mum during the timescale.

Arthur would draw several doodles that appear within the journal in black and white or colour. Ones that have been folded over within the journal are shown on a separate page.

After the journal and annotation, there is a section about how the Arctic moulded Arthur afterwards and how it would show up in his works and his life. They also include two articles that he wrote about the Arctic and two pieces of fiction - The Captain and the "Pole Star" and the Holmes story The Adventure of Black Peter - to demonstrate how the experience would find its way into his later works.

Overall, it is a fantastic addition to the Arthur Conan Doyle collection and a real gem for insight into this fascinating man. There is the question of whether he would have wanted it published as he obviously never did so himself but I think it is a positive reflection on his wild, humorous and jovial personality. A definite must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Family connection, 5 Jan. 2013
By 
Anne James (KETCHUM, ID, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure (Hardcover)
My Grandma always told us that Arthur Conan Doyle sailed with her father, who was a whaler. Now we know that story is true and it was good to read of the conditions a great grandfather worked in.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and delightfull, 14 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure (Hardcover)
To have Doyle's own handwritten account, together with his pencil sketches, is far better than a transcription alone. Sometimes other peoples handwriting can be difficult, Doyle's is remarkably legible and easy to read giving a direct connection to the events and atmosphere.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good illustrations, but thin on content, 25 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure (Hardcover)
A good-looking book but the actual diary (presented twice, once in facsimile and repeated in typeset) is a little thin. The illustrations are well produced.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Derring-do fo a doctor., 5 Oct. 2013
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EA Clewes (Altrincham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure (Hardcover)
Quite a surprise for Conan Doyle followers. I love Sherlock Holmes but found this much more exciting. A great read. Couldn't put it down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, 6 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure (Hardcover)
Bought as a present and was told it was a very good read. Highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Arctic explorers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars profuse publication, 23 Jan. 2013
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Jens Olesen (Copenhagen) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure (Hardcover)
I love the facsimile diary and the useful comments. Not to speak of the skilled writing by young A. Conan Doyle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 25 April 2015
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This review is from: Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure (Hardcover)
Excellent
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Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure
Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Hardcover - 25 Sept. 2012)
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