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archaeology
By Airship to the North Pole: An Archaeology of Human Exploration
 
 
Author
P.J. Capelotti.
Publisher Rutgers  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.5 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780813526331
Pages/Publication Date 209/1999
Daedalus Item Code 30200
This item is not available.
Description
Archaeologist and social science lecturer P.J. Capelotti here interprets the media reports and the physical remains of two particularly reckless attempts to reach the North Pole by air. Swedish engineer Salomon August Andrée embarked for the Pole in a hydrogen balloon in 1897 and never returned, while American journalist Walter Wellman organized and led three unsuccessful air expeditions from 1907 to 1909, hoping in part to find Andrée. Capelotti considers how these stories were created and reported in the press, and how these reports influenced the explorers and also colored their place in history.

"A well-written tale of two unlucky polar explorers. While undertaking archaeological research in the Spitsbergen archipelago, 600 miles below the North Pole, Capelotti worked with artifacts left behind by the Swedish explorer Salomon August Andrée and the American journalist Walter Wellman ... [who both] seemed strangely unaware that they were doomed to failure from the outset. Andrée, whom history has remembered unkindly as either a lunatic or an idiot, attempted his polar feat in an airship that, though it needed to stay aloft for a month, would not hold its hydrogen gas for more than a few days. The craft disappeared, taking Andrée and two crewmen with it. Their remains have never been recovered, although film from their aerial photographs was later found and processed. Wellman, a Chicago-based journalist and incessant self-promoter, participated in the search for Andrée's lost ship, and he took up the challenge in three failed airborne expeditions; a rival Chicago paper proclaimed the last 'a voyage which for foolhardiness exceeds anything in the history of human recklessness'.... All in all, a nice job of historical reconstruction."—Kirkus Reviews

 
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