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GIVE ME MY FATHER'S BODY

Harper, Kenn.

292 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1883642531 / ISBN 13: 9781883642532
Published by Steerforth Press., South Royalton, VT:, 2000
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About this Item

HC in dust jacket. 2nd Printing. Foreward by Kevin Spacey. This copy signed by Kenn Harper on the title page and dated 03 June 2000. A fine copy in a fine dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 8690

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Bibliographic Details

Title: GIVE ME MY FATHER'S BODY

Publisher: Steerforth Press., South Royalton, VT:

Publication Date: 2000

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st US edition

About this title

Synopsis:

In 1897, American explorer Robert Peary brought Minik Wallace, a young Polar Eskimo, from northwestern Greenland to New York. During his 12 years in America, Minik's adoptive family went from riches to rags, and Minik's own life was shattered by the traumatic discovery of his father's skeleton on display in the American Museum of Natural History. Sent back to Greenland in 1909, Minik had to relearn his native language and hunting skills to survive. Told here for the first time, this dark chapter from the golden age of Polar expedition is based on original research in Greenland, Denmark, and the U.S.

Review:

At last returning to print, Give Me My Father's Body is the thought-provoking tale of Minik, a young Inuit boy brought to New York by Robert Peary around the turn of the 20th century. Told simply and interspersed with personal letters and newspaper clippings, the book examines Minik's life both as a cross-cultural meeting place and a deeply personal search for a place to call "home." Photographs throughout of Minik give a glimpse into the incredible differences between the multiple worlds he inhabited, and how impossible it must have been to live in these worlds successfully. The title derives from one of Minik's more harrowing experiences--finding his father's bones displayed in a natural-history museum as a "curiosity"--and his attempts to retrieve the bones for a more respectful burial. Author Kenn Harper, while including many facts and articles about Arctic exploration, refrains from sharing opinions about the various explorers or their methods, choosing to share this story--and his years of research--plainly. From the death of Minik's birth father to the financial ruin of his American foster family, the events of Minik's childhood seem like one disaster after another, and his adulthood--the successful return to Greenland, followed by disappointment and a subsequent return to New York--is an unhappy struggle to find some kind of personal fulfillment. Questions of racial and cultural differences make an inescapable larger framework for Minik's life, and the emotions brought forward in answering those questions make reading this book a powerful experience. --Jill Lightner

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