Yet Kane would achieve his greatest fame by exploring the High Arctic, an adventure that began when he sailed in search of the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin and the open water of an alleged “polar sea” around the North Pole. In the mid-1850s, Kane pushed farther north than any other voyager, then spent two years trapped in the ice before leading a desperate but heroic retreat that only added to his legend.
Race to the Polar Sea by Ken McGoogan tells the story of a romantic adventurer driven by dreams of glory. It is a tale of heroism, courage and conspiracy that evokes an age when the Arctic seemed a white, booming emptiness, beautiful and unknowable.
The Polar Sea
In 1853, Kane wintered over in Rensselaer Bay, Greenland, which is east of Nunavut, Canada, and north of Baffin Bay.
Baffin Bay (French: Baie de Baffin) is a sea between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. It is 1130 km (700 mi) across from north to south. It is not navigable most of the year because of the presence of large numbers of icebergs.
About the Author Ken McGoogan
Born in Montreal and raised in a small French-speaking town, Ken has lived all over Canada — Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, New Brunswick, and the Yukon — as well as in California, Greece, and Tanzania. In his twenties, Ken worked as a bicycle messenger in San Francisco, a forest fire lookout in the Canadian Rockies, and a French teacher in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Later, he visited the High Arctic, explored Europe and the United States, and rambled around Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, India and Sri Lanka.
Along the way, Ken attended universities in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism (Ryerson) and a master’s degree in creative writing (University of British Columbia). He worked as a journalist at The Toronto Star and The Montreal Star, and spent more than a decade as books editor and columnist at The Calgary Herald.
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