The Impossible Rescue

The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure
CD - unabridged
Audio (4 discs)
Product Number: BN10380
Released: Jul 22, 2014
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781491501702
Narrator/s: Malcolm Hillgartner
Publisher: Candlewick
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In 1897, whaling in the Arctic waters off Alaska' s coast was as dangerous as it was lucrative. And in that particular year, winter blasted early, bringing storms and ice packs that caught eight American whale ships and three hundred sailors off guard. Their ships locked in ice, with no means of escape, the whalers had limited provisions on board, and little hope of surviving until warmer temperatures arrived many months later. Here is the incredible story of three men sent by President McKinley to rescue them. The mission? A perilous trek over 1,500 miles of nearly impassable Alaskan terrain, in the bone-chilling months of winter, to secure two herds of reindeer (for food) and find a way to guide them to the whalers before they starve. With the help of photographs and journal entries by one of the rescuers, Martin W. Sandler takes us on every step of their riveting journey, facing raging blizzards, killing cold, injured sled dogs, and setbacks to test the strongest of wills.

Professional reviews

"Malcolm Hillgartner recounts this astonishing story of a 1,500-mile trek across Alaska in winter to rescue 265 crew members of iced-in whaling ships from certain starvation in 1897. His delivery is characterized by a deep, gravelly voice, a tone of sustained suspense, and an appropriate dash of awe. Hillgartner rolls through the names of native Alaskans and places without hesitation and distinguishes the narrative from the plentiful primary sources of diaries, letters, and reminiscences. The three-man rescue team received indispensable help from the native Alaskans who gave up their reindeer herds (and their livelihoods) to feed the starving whalers without receiving any recognition--or the promised compensation. To appreciate the scores of photographs taken by one of the rescuers, listen with a hard copy of the book in hand. A.B. (c) AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine"