Franklin: Tragic Hero of Polar Navigation

Author(s): Andrew D. Lambert


In 1845 Captain Sir John Franklin led a large, well equipped expedition to complete the conquest of the Canadian Arctic, to find the fabled North West Passage connecting the North Atlantic to the North Pacific. Yet Franklin, his ships and men were fated never to return. The cause of their loss remains a mystery. Shocked by the disappearance of all 129 officers and men, and sickened by reports of cannibalism, the Victorians re-created Franklin as the brave Christian hero who laid down his life, and those of his men. Later generations have been more skeptical about Franklin and his supposed selfless devotion to duty. But does either view really explain why this outstanding scientific navigator found his ships trapped in pack ice seventy miles from magnetic north? Andrew Lambert re-examines the life and the evidence with his customary brilliance and authority. In this riveting story of the Arctic, he discovers a new Franklin: a character far more complex, and more truly heroic, than previous histories have allowed.


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The gripping story of the worst ever catastrophe in British exploration, and the captain at the heart of it.

Andrew Lambert is Professor of Naval History at King's College, London, and has been described as 'the outstanding British naval historian of his generation' (David Cannadine). His books include Trincomalee: The Last of Nelson's Frigates and The Foundations of Naval History, and his highly successful history of the British Navy, War at Sea, was broadcast on BBC2.

General Fields

  • : 9780571231607
  • : Faber and Faber
  • : Faber and Faber
  • : 0.73
  • : July 2009
  • : 241mm X 160mm X 35mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : ill
  • : Expeditions
  • : 448
  • : 919.804
  • : 1
  • : Hardback
  • : Andrew D. Lambert