An engaging story of a man who has not received the recognition he so richly deserved. Ken McGoogan's 2001 book, written before Franklin's ships were found, is a significant part of the effort to acknowledge the man who did actually find the last link in the Northwest Passage and also ascertained the fate of the Franklin expedition. I was prompted to read it after seeing John Rae's statue in Orkney, his place of birth, and was amazed at Rae's physical endurance and competence in the wilderness, much of the latter due to learning and adopting the time tested survival skills of the indigenous peoples of the north. This is a book that should be retained indefinitely by the library as a resource for Canadian history.
Classic shoot the messenger & character assassination story by the rich & powerful (Franklin's widow) on a regular Joe & the Inuits for giving bad news & inadvertently upstaging client by discovering Northwest Passage instead of the deceased.
Clueless former PM Harper reinforced message when he tooted discovery of Franklin's ship in 2014 & ignored true person who discovered final leg of Northwest Passage.
Expensive media event got Canadians to say "so what?" on epic fail Franklin spin doctored by his widow.
Here's a chance for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to set the record straight.
A fascinating story about an astonishing man who solved two of the greatest mysteries of the 19th century -- the missing link in the Northwest Passage and the true fate of the Franklin Expedition. Rarely within one individual can one find John Rae's combination of wisdom and leadership, along with incredible physical stamina. Besides that, the key to his success was the fact that he was far more open minded than his peers, recognizing immediately that far from being ignorant savages, the Inuit understood the true nature of the Arctic and had brilliantly adapted to survive in that unforgiving environment. Rae and his small band of men were the first Europeans to survive over winter in the Arctic, because Rae emulated the Inuit methods of shelter, food and clothing.
It's also a story of the fate that may befall individuals who tell an inconvenient truth in the face of powerful people who have a vested interest in a different version of reality.
John Rae was surely one of the most outstanding individuals ever to set foot on Canadian soil and if there had been any justice, he would surely be widely known and revered today and would have been showered with honours and knighted in his day. Instead, the establishment in Britain, led by Franklin's widow, did everything in their power to destroy Rae's reputation. Both Robert McClure who abandoned his ice-bound ship and never found a navigable passage, and Sir John Franklin whose entire crew perished in their attempt were credited with having discovered the passage, while John Rae, who correctly identified the true route (as confirmed by Amundsen) was branded a liar and an opportunist.
A fascinating true story of a virtually unknown hero of Canadian history. Many very interesting details of life in the north in those times.
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