Early Arctic Exploration and High-seas Adventure Celebrated in Biography
Doctor, mountaineer and biographer Peter Steele is the first to tell the story of George Back, Franklin's Lieutenant and a successful 19th-century explorer and artist. The cloth edition was a Globe & Mail bestseller and an Amazon. ca Top book in 2003. The newly released trade paperback is the first available edition in the United States.
(PRWEB) December 11, 2004
Doctor, mountaineer and biographer Peter Steele traveled throughout Europe and across the Arctic landscape by plane, boat and on foot to research The Man Who Mapped the Arctic: The Intrepid Life of George Back, FranklinÂs Lieutenant.
This biography is the tale of an unsung hero of 19th-century exploration. George Back went on three Arctic expeditions under Sir John Franklin, opening up the barren lands of the great white north. But unlike Franklin, Back lived to tell his tales and left behind a legacy of journals, drawings, watercolours and maps. From these fine sources emerges a story of remarkable endurance and resilience in the face of appalling odds.
Back was one of natureÂs survivors. Two months shy of his twelfth birthday, he joined the British Navy. Within months, Back had become a prisoner of war of Napoleon and would spend the next five years maturing in FranceÂs countryside where prisoners were billeted. Following the defeat of Napoleon, Back returns to sea and ultimately has an illustrious career as a Lieutentant, mapmaker and artist. His crowning achievement was the discovery and descent of the treacherous Back River. Not only did he shoot its 83 rapids, but on reaching the Arctic Ocean, he dragged his homemade boat back upstream as the winter closed in. After a final, ill-fated expedition to Hudson Bay, Back retired, was knighted and died in his bed at the age of 82.
Steele himself is no stranger to the dangers of exploration and wilderness adventure. In 1971, Steele was the Medical Officer of the ill-fated International Everest Expedition, an experience he recorded in Doctor on Everest (a new edition will be published in 2005 by Raincoast Books). While flying over BackÂs path through the still-remote barrens of CanadaÂs north country, the airplaneÂs generator stopped working and SteeleÂs pilot was forced to land on a lake. Steele says, ÂWe didnÂt know if weÂd get the plane started again, we had few supplies and, for a brief moment, I glimpsed the immensity of BackÂs endeavour.Â
Respected mountaineer, surgeon, and biographer, Peter Steele was born in England and has lived in the Yukon Territory, Canada since 1975. Steele has published several books on mountaineering and he is frequently used as a media resource for Arctic issues. His last book, Eric Shipton: Everest and Beyond (Mountaineers, 1998) a biography of the great English climber, won the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature.
The cloth edition of The Man Who Mapped the Arctic, published in Canada and the UK in 2003, was a Globe & Mail bestseller and selected as a 2003 Top Book on Amazon. ca. The First Trade Paper Edition ($15.95 USA, ISBN 1-55192-713-6, distribution by Publishers Group West)has just released in the United States.
In the USA, distributed to the trade by Publishers Group West.