Cold Burial: A True Story of Endurance and Disaster

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9780312288549: Cold Burial: A True Story of Endurance and Disaster
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For schoolboys in the 1920s, too young to have experienced first-hand the horrors of World War One, theirs was yet the age of adventure. Their imaginations fired by the exploits of Robert Scott, T. E. Lawrence, Ernest Shackleton, and George Mallory, and by the novels of John Buchan and Jack London, they dreamed of exploring and conquering new frontiers. Lawrence had retreated from public life, and Scott, Shackleton, and Mallory were by then all dead, but their heroic feats remained the measure of British manhood, the standard to be carried forward.

In the Spring of 1926, Edgar Christian, a young man of eighteen fresh out of public school, joined his dashing cousin, the legendary (if somewhat self-styled) adventurer Jack Hornby, and a friend named Harold Adlard on an expedition into the Barren Lands of the Canadian Northwest Territories. The plan was to hunt caribou and trap for fur. For young Edgar, the Barrens expedition offered a chance to prove himself and to find his direction in life; for Hornby, a veteran of the Great War as well previous forays into the Northwest (he was known in some quarters as "Hornby of the North"), it represented his latest date with disaster. Together they would demonstrate that civilized men could survive, even thrive, in one of the world's most inhospitable regions. They were proved wrong.

Based in large part upon a diary left behind by Edgar, discovered when his body and those of his companions were found two years after their deaths, Clive Powell-Williams' account of the expedition is a gripping narrative of innocence and experience, youthful idealism and unyielding nature. It matters little that we know in advance the tragic outcome, for in its unfolding Cold Burial recounts a tale of courage, folly, and ultimately redemptive love that will haunt readers long after they've read the last page.

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Review:

He was known as Hornby of the North, the Brit who rejected his wealthy background for the frontier life of Canada's frozen north. In 1926, Jack Hornby, the living legend, took his young cousin, Edgar Christian, and Harold Adlard to the remotest part of the Barren Lands, accessible only by canoe and dog team. Except he didn't bring dogs, nor enough clothing or supplies. Instead, he staked their lives on the fifty-fifty chance of meeting with the great caribou migration. In his diary, the young Edgar wrote, "We live on our rifles and see nobody." Two years later, the diary would be found stashed in the stove near the skeletons of the three men. Powell-Williams has meticulously reconstructed this chilling and controversial adventure, considered by some a noble repetition of Mallory and Scott's expeditions, by others a pitiful folly, and by those who lived it, an expression of honor, camaraderie, and courage. --Lesley Reed

About the Author:

A teacher at St. Martin's School in Middlesex, England, Clive Powell-Williams was introduced to Edgar Christian's diary by the archivist at nearby Dover College, to which Christian's grieving parents had donated it after its discovery. Fascinated by what he read, Powell-Williams spent nine years researching the story behind the diary. The result is this book.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780312302559: Cold Burial: A True Story of Endurance and Disaster

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  031230255X ISBN 13:  9780312302559
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin, 2003
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9780670885640: Cold Burial

Viking..., 2001
Hardcover

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