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The Journey to the Polar Sea Kindle Edition
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Frankiln's story is a wonderful tale indeed, and if anything, the images detract from the carefully woven words of the man. A big NO to the publisher of this book - keep it simple and keep it cheap in the future!!!
The text is as good as any other versiion of Franklin's expedition account, but why spend the extra money for such little extra incentive?
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The style of this book is very stiff, formal and dry, due I suppose to the fact it was written by someone accustomed to writing official government requests and reports. There isn't much drama, incident or interesting detail in the chapters leading up to the final, climactic tragedy. It's very repetitive, just endless traveling through rivers and lakes.
Franklin comes off as a real heal, as well. He drives his Canadian voyageurs to death and hardly has anything good to say about them. His cockamamie expedition causes the death of about half a dozen voyageurs but he only shows sympathy when his fellow officer, Hood, dies.
Their exploration of the shores of the polar sea aren't particularly interesting, either. The chief impression is that he's traveling through a freakishly alien landscape.
The presentation of the book is beautifully done so it's a real shame that that there are two or three typos on each page. On one page, eight words of a sentence are omitted rendering it gibberish (I had a PDF of an earlier edition to compare it with).
You really have to be a diehard fan of exploration narratives to wade through all this. For the general reader I'd recommend just reading the final chapter and skipping the rest.
This book is his narrative of that long and tragic journey, written in journal form by Franklin himself. Incredible struggles and hardships are related in a direct, matter-of-fact way (I was particularly struck by a casual reference to the expedition members eating old shoes, as if this were a normal part of their rations); injuries, canoe accidents, perfidious voyageurs and near starvation are described in detail as the adventurers slowly move farther north. The latter part of the narrative contains enough hair-raising occurrences to satisfy anyone's need for vicarious excitement.
Journey to the Polar Sea is not light reading, but it's a treat for connoisseurs of the English language. Franklin's style, like that of many writers of his period, is stately and cadenced, with impeccable grammar and a knack for the striking phrase. The Kindle text is refreshingly free of typos and misspellings. Readers accustomed to the more expansive nature of Nineteenth Century non-fiction will find this work engaging and enjoyable, especially those who wish to learn more about the original inhabitants of these remote regions.
Though the book may be interspersed with passages of strictly technical relevance, such as the results of Franklin's solar and lunar observations, `Journey to the Polar Sea' deserves its place on the shelf with the great narratives of Polar exploration. Readers would do well to provide themselves with a map of the region, since none accompanies the text. A fine article on John Franklin in Wikipedia provides references for further reading.