In the late 1800s, Arctic Fever swept across the nation as dozens of American expeditions sailed rth to the Arctic to find a sea route to Asia and, ultimately, to stand at the North Pole. Yet despite the Pole's geographic distance, Arctic exploration, Michael F. Robinson argues, was an activity that unfolded in America as much as it did in the wintry hinterland. Paying particular attention to the perils facing explorers such as Elisha Kent Kane, Charles Hall, and Robert Peary at home, The Coldest Crucible examines their struggles to build support for the expeditions before departure, defend their claims upon their return, and cast themselves as men worthy of the nation's full attention. In so doing, this book paints a new portrait of polar voyagers, one that removes them from the icy backdrop of the Arctic and sets them within the tempests of American cultural life.
Michael F. Robinson is associate professor of history at the University of Hartford.