Unravelling the Franklin Mystery: Inuit Testimony (Mcgill-Queen's Native and Northern Series)

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9780773509368: Unravelling the Franklin Mystery: Inuit Testimony (Mcgill-Queen's Native and Northern Series)

David Woodman's reconstruction of the mysterious events surrounding the tragic Franklin expedition boldly challenges standard interpretations and promises to replace them. Among the many who have tried to discover the truth behind the Franklin disaster, Woodman is the first to recognise the profound importance of the Inuit testimony and to analyse it in depth. He concludes from his investigations that the Inuit probably did visit Franklin's ships while the crew was still on board and that there were some Inuit who actually saw the sinking of one of the ships. He maintains that fewer than ten bodies were found at Starvation Cove and that the last survivors left the cove in 1851, three years after the standard account assumes them to be dead. Woodman also disputes the conclusion of Owen Beattie and John Geiger's book "Frozen in time" that lead poisoning was a major contributing cause of the disaster.Much of the Inuit testimony presented in "Unravelling the Franklin Mystery" has never before been published. The earliest Woodman quotes was recorded by Franklin searchers only nine years after the disappearance of the Franklin team. Inuit testimony provided Woodman with the pivotal clue in his re-construction of the puzzle of the Franklin disaster: 'I proceeded from the assumption that all Inuit stories concerning white men should have a discoverable factual basis ...and managed to discover a scenario which allowed use of all the native recollections, solved some troubling discrepancies in the physical evidence and led to some significant new conclusions as to the fate of the beleaguered sailors'. Whether or not one agrees with Woodman's conclusions, his account is compelling and his analysis impressive.

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Review:

"Undoubtedly the most authoritative, cool-headed and thrilling investigation so far" Jonathan Keates The Observer "Woodman has examined all the documentation on Inuit testimony with relentless thoroughness. He has made a vitally important, long overdue contribution ...It is a book anyone obsessed with Franklin will want to have" Toronto Star "Compelling reading" Books in Canada "Woodman is an indefatigable and creative researcher, and gifted in the ability to convey dauntless enthusiasm for the obscure hieroglyphs that Franklin's history left us in its wake." Arctic Circle "Woodman's book will be invaluable to those who can't get enough on the Franklin mystery." Montreal Gazette "Brilliant ... a joy to read ...it unfolds slowly like a good detective story. Some chapters are masterpieces, containing all sorts of interesting titbits and background material ...The time is ripe for a fresh, new, original book about John Franklin. This is it." C. Stuart Houston, University of Saskatchewan and editor of The Arctic Ordeal and To the Arctic by Canoe "[Woodman] has done an excellent job of gathering Inuit testimony and he presents a new emphasis which allows new interpretations and conclusions with regard to the Franklin epic. Such an approach should fit in with the new genre of book which seeks to look back into history and present a native perspective." Dorothy Harley Eber, author of When the Whalers were up North

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Woodman, David C.
Published by McGill-Queen's University Pres (1992)
ISBN 10: 0773509364 ISBN 13: 9780773509368
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