The north-west passage

Heated debate over Franklin’s doomed Arctic expedition

How refreshing in a time of general sensitivity to find a book intended to infuriate and debunk. Welcome to the desolate Canadian Arctic, to the mystery of the Franklin expedition, which disappeared in 1845 seeking the North-West Passage, and to a world of disagreement about what happened to it. Ernest Coleman’s story of his search for clues to Franklin’s fate is delightfully prejudiced and pugnacious. The purpose of No Earthly Pole is, he writes, ‘to speak out in opposition to the clustering together of some academics and experts who have closed their minds’. Middle-aged lieutenant goes to the ends of the earth to defend the reputation of Queen Victoria’s Navy