Thursday, Dec. 12, 2002

Ninety Degrees North by Fergus Fleming

For much of the 19th Century, the North Pole was the geographical Holy Grail, and everybody wanted a piece of it. Never mind that nobody knew what was up there: hundreds of explorers hurled themselves northward, ill-informed and unprepared, and met with disaster. Their ships were frozen in pack ice for years at a time. Their brandy froze in their bottles. It snowed inside their tents. Their stories, told with a perfect balance of compassion and humor, make chilling reading. Ninety Degrees North is a testament to the heights of human perseverance and the depths of human folly.