Essential Information

National Maritime Museum

31 Aug 2007

This truly is a gorgeous book. And it's not just me that thinks so - everyone who has walked past my shelf of recently catalogued books lately has been picking it up. Bound in teal blue with an illustrated spine and silver lettering, The Quest for the Northwest Passage is simply irresistable. Published by The Folio Society, it's also beautifully illustrated, with several maps, oil paintings, prints and engravings reproduced from the Museum's own collections, among others. It's a good thing too, because the book itself is a collection of first hand accounts of the numerous explorers who have searched for a navigable sea route through the Arctic since the 16th century. It makes fascinating but at times harrowing reading, as expedition after expedition ends in death or mutiny (or both). The word 'disappointment' features in several chapter titles. Others have ominous-sounding titles like: 'A winter of death' (the 1619 voyage of Jens Munk), 'Final disillusionment' (the surveys of George Vancouver), and in reference to Franklin's overland expedition of 1819-1822: 'We Ate Our Shoes for Supper'. Franklin's last expedition of 1845 is also covered in some depth, and, if you are into this sort of thing, make sure you have a look at the Franklin relics feature on Collections Online. The book itself is available from the shelves in the Caird Library reading room, and if you'd like to see what else is new this month, try the new books list on the catalogue. Renée (Digital Resources Librarian)