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Owen Beattie is an anthropologist who thinks he knows what happened to the famous expedition led by Sir John Franklin in the mid 1800's. Sir John was sure that he would be able to discover the ever illusive Northwest Passage, a route that would make it possible for Europeans to travel to China across the top of Canada. So, in 1845, Sir John set out with two ships, the Erebus and the Terror. The ships were fitted with the best technological advances of the time and everyone was sure that Sir John would succeed where so many failed before him. Instead the two ships got frozen in the ice and none of the crew members came home. An enormous rescue mission was launched and even when it was clear that everyone on the ships must have died, explorers still went out looking for answers as to what had happened on that ill-fated voyage. Now, all these years later Owen is hoping that he will be able to prove once and for all that the expedition had been doomed from the start and the cause was a very simple one - poisoning. Sir John's crew all ate food from cans, cans which had been soldered shut with lead. The lead would have made the crew sick and weak. It would have made them behave irrationally and would have impaired their ability to make sound decisions. Finally the lead in their bodies would have killed many of them. By describing Owen's own experiences and by also telling the story of the Franklin expedition from the point of view of one of the crew members, the authors of this excellent book bring the whole extraordinary tale to life. Period photographs and photographs of artifacts from the two ships, along with maps and illustrations help the reader see the journey and try to be a detective reaching into the past to find out what happened all those years ago. Though this is undoubtedly a tragic tale, it is a fascinating one, as we are able to see how scientists today can discover intimate details about people who died long ago.
The truth about what happened on Sir John Franklin's ill-fated Arctic expedition of 1845-48 has been shrouded in mystery for 165 years. Carrying the best equipment that the science and technology, Franklin and his men set out to "penetrate the icy fastness of the north, and to circumnavigate America." The expedition's two ships - HMS Erebus and HMS Terror - carrying 129 officers and men, disappeared without a trace. From 1846 to 1880 more than 20 major rescue parties were involved in the search for the missing men and ships. The disappearance of the expedition and absence of any substantial written accounts of the journey have left attempts at a reconstruction of events sketchy and inconclusive. In Frozen in Time, forensic anthropologist Owen Beattie and historian John Geiger tell the dramatic story of the excavation of three sailors from the Franklin Expeditions, buried for 138 years on the lonely headland of Beechey Island. This book contains the astonishing photographic record of the excavation, together with the maps and illustrations that accompany this riveting account of Franklin's fatal adventure. The unfolding of Dr. Beattie's unexpected findings is not only a significant document but also, in itself, a tale of high adventure.
The revised text of "Frozen in Time" expands on the history of nineteenth century British Arctic exploration and specifically the Franklin expedition, placing it in the context of other expeditions of the era, including those commanded by George Back and James Clark Ross.The Franklin expedition was not alone in suffering early and unexplained deaths. Indeed, the expeditions of both Back (1837) and Ross (1849) were forced to retreat because of the rapacious illness that stalked their ships. The authors make the case that this illness was due to the crews' overwhelming reliance on a new technology: tinned foods. This not only exposed the seamen to lead, an insidious poison, but also left them vulnerable to scurvy.The revised "Frozen in Time" will also update the research outlined in the original edition, and will introduce independent confirmation of Dr. Beattie's lead hypothesis, along with corroboration of his discovery of physical evidence for both scurvy and cannibalism. In addition, the book includes a new introduction written by Margaret Atwood, who has long been fascinated by the role of the Franklin Expedition in Canada's literary conscience.Includes never before seen photographs from the exhumations on Beechey Island and rarely seen historical illustrations.
The Franklin expedition was not alone in suffering early and unexplained deaths. Indeed, both Back (1837) and Ross (1849) suffered early onset of unaccountable "debility" aboard ship and Ross suffered greater fatalities during his single winter in the Arctic than did Franklin during his first. Both expeditions were forced to retreat because of the rapacious illness that stalked their ships. Frozen in Time makes the case that this illness (starting with the Back expedition) was due to the crews' overwhelming reliance on a new technology, namely tinned foods. This not only exposed the seamen to lead, an insidious poison - as has been demonstrated in Franklin's case by Dr. Beattie's research - but it also left them vulnerable to scurvy, the ancient scourge of seafarers which had been thought to have been largely cured in the early years of the nineteenth century. Fully revised, Frozen in Time will update the research outlined in the original edition, and will introduce independent confirmation of Dr. Beattie's lead hypothesis, along with corroboration of his discovery of physical evidence for both scurvy and cannibalism. In addition, the book includes a new introduction written by Margaret Atwood, who has long been fascinated by the role of the Franklin Expedition in Canada's literary conscience, and has made a pilgrimage to the site of the Franklin Expedition graves on Beechey Island.
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