Frostbite, cannibalism, and even death were the prices paid by early explorers trying to reach the Poles. Shackleton, Scott, Amundsen and more risked their lives for glory. Not all of them were heroes, and in fact some were bumblers and liars. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, great Polar adventures, and Polar hoaxes. Also, a tough little worm that calls the deserts of Antarctica, home.
In her book "The Endurance," and in this conversation with Jim Fleming, Caroline Alexander tells the story of Ernest Shackleton and his ill-fated 1914 expedition to the South Pole. Shackleton kept his whole crew alive for two years until they could be rescued. Also, biologist Diana Wall tells Steve Paulson about nematodes — tough little worms that live in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica and survive by freeze-drying themselves.SEGMENT 2:
Keith Pickering tells Judith Strasser that the first three men who claimed to have discovered the North Pole were lying about it. Byrd and Peary were simply wrong, but Cook hatched a hoax from the get go. Pickering outlines the evidence for the various polar hoaxes. He's a historian of exploration and editor of the journal Dio.SEGMENT 3:
Andrea Barrett borrows the grisly tale of John Franklin, whose arctic expedition disappeared in 1845, for her novel "Voyage of the Narwhal." Barrett tells Steve Paulson what really happened to Franklin and his crew, and why the story spoke to her. Also, Bernard Mergan, author of "Snow in America," talks with Jim Fleming about Americans' ambivalent attitude towards the white stuff. Even the Puritans had opinions on the subject! Mergen teaches American Civilization at George Washington University.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 98-12-13-C.
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