John Rae Forgotten Hero of Arctic Exploration

Lectures and events
Publication Date
02/05/2013
Featuring
Ken McGoogan

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Born in Orkney in 1813, John Rae grew up hunting and fishing. He trained in Edinburgh as a doctor, sailed with the Hudson’s Bay Company, and became an outstanding Arctic traveller. In 1854, Rae was mapping the Arctic coastline, slogging overland through snow and ice, when he discovered a strait that proved to be the final link in the Northwest Passage. Returning to camp, he encountered Inuit hunters who informed him that the long-lost, two-ship expedition of Sir John Franklin had ended in disaster and cannibalism. Rae acquired relics. He brought the tragic news to London, where his report scandalised Victorian England and prompted Charles Dickens to join Lady Franklin in a ferocious campaign to discredit him. Rae fought back, but historians and map-makers ignored his achievements, and he remained the only major explorer never to receive a knighthood.

Ken McGoogan is the Canadian author of fifteen books, including Flight of the HighlandersDead Reckoning50 Canadians Who Changed the WorldHow the Scots Invented Canada, and four biographical narratives focusing on northern exploration and published internationally: Fatal Passage (John Rae), Ancient Mariner (Samuel Hearne), Lady Franklin’s Revenge (Jane Franklin), and Race to the Polar Sea (Elisha Kent Kane).

Featuring

Ken McGoogan
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Lectures and events
Publication Date
02/05/2013
Featuring
Ken McGoogan
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