Abandoned: The Story of the Greely Arctic Expedition 1881-1884 by A. L. Todd

Abandoned: The Story of the Greely Arctic Expedition 1881-1884

Book Title: Abandoned: The Story of the Greely Arctic Expedition 1881-1884

Publisher: Pathfinder Books

Author: A. L. Todd


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A. L. Todd with Abandoned: The Story of the Greely Arctic Expedition 1881-1884

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Abandoned, first published in 1961, is the riveting story of the ill-fated Greely Arctic Expedition. Launched in 1881 as part of the International Polar Year, the U.S. stationed a party of twenty-five men on what is today called Ellesmere Island off the northwest coast of Greenland. The volunteer crew was made up of 3 Army officers, 19 enlisted men, a civilian surgeon, and 2 Eskimo hunters. The commander of the group was thirty-seven-year-old Signal Corps Lieutenant Adolphus Washington Greely. During their first year on the ice, members of the expedition went farther toward the North Pole than anyone had gone before and collected a body of invaluable scientific data. The first supply ship sent to the men in the summer of 1882 was forced to turn back, and the men passed their second winter in isolation at their frigid basecamp. Personality clashes developed and grew steadily more intense. The second relief ship, sent in 1883, was crushed in the ice. Greely led his men south according to a prearranged plan, and they spent their third ice-bound winter encamped at Camp Sabine. Supplies ran out, the hunting failed, and the men began to die of starvation. In Washington an amazing controversy grew out of the failure of the rescue expeditions. Congress was reluctant to launch another attempt, but at last, largely because of the heroic efforts of Greely’s wife, Henrietta, the Navy was authorized to go in search of survivors. In the summer of 1884 the 6 survivors of the Greely expedition were safely returned home. The excitement which their rescue generated soon turned into a national scandal when rumors of cannibalism were supported by forensic evidence. Abandoned remains the most complete and authentic account of the Greely Expedition ever published. Included are 15 pages of maps and photographs.