The Flannery O'Connor Library

St. Pius X Catholic High School

Harnessed to the Pole

636.73 NIC

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Harnessed to the Pole : sledge dogs in service to American explorers of the Arctic, 1853-1909

Nickerson, Sheila B.

Fairbanks, AK : University of Alaska Press, [2014]

320 pages ; 23 cm.

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In the second half of the nineteenth century, an epic race was underway in some of the most brutal stretches on the planet. Explorers from around the world hoped to stake their claim on the Arctic, with the North Pole being the ultimate prize. Those with the greatest success found that the fastest way to travel was on four legs--using a team of hardworking sledge dogs.

Harnessed to the Pole  follows the adventures of eight American explorers and their dog teams, starting with Elisha Kent Kane and ending with Robert Peary, controversial claimant of the title of first to reach the North Pole. While history has long forgotten these "little camels of the north," Sheila Nickerson reveals how critical dogs were to the Arctic conquest. Besides providing transportation in extreme conditions, sledge dogs protected against wolves and polar bears, helped in hunting, found their way through storms, and provided warmth in extreme cold. They also faced rough handling, starvation, and the possibility of being left behind as expeditions plunged ahead.  Harnessed to the Pole  is an extraordinary--and unflinching--look at the dogs that raced to the top of the world.

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Table of Contents

  • 1Jules Vernep. 1
  • 2Sir John Franklinp. 5
  • 3What Was the Greenland Dog?p. 11
  • 4Sledge or Sled?p. 17
  • 5Toodla and Whiteyp. 25
  • 6Henry Berghp. 59
  • 7Oosisoak and Arkadikp. 67
  • 8Disease and Dietp. 91
  • 9Dogs and Driver: The Essential Teamp. 97
  • 10Seeking Companionship: When Dogs Were Not Availablep. 103
  • 11Barbekarkp. 111
  • 12Dogs as Showmenp. 139
  • 13Wolf, Smarty, Bear, Shoemaker, Tigerp. 141
  • 14Tommy the Cat and the Lemmingsp. 155
  • 15Bear, Spike, and the Nameless Prisonersp. 159
  • 16Toekelegeto, Ublubliaq, Miqijukp. 165
  • 17The Importance of Namingp. 183
  • 18Kasmatka, Snoozer, Bingo, Snuffy, Tom, Jack, Wolfp. 187
  • 19The Polar Bearp. 221
  • 20Gypsy, Old Sneak, Ritenbenk, Disco Kingp. 225
  • 21The Namelessp. 245
  • 22Heart-hungersp. 255
  • 23Nalegaksoahp. 259
  • 24Commemorationp. 283
  • Chapter Notesp. 289
  • Bibliographyp. 301
  • Indexp. 307