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Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on the World's…
de Stephen R. Bown
No hi ha cap discussió a Converses sobre aquesta obra.
In 1733, Vitus Bering, in charge of the Great Northern Expedition left St. Petersburg, Russia for an expedition to the Americas that would eventually end in his death and the immortalization of his name. The ten year expedition, was across Russia by land, and by sea in two ships. The closest he got was to sight Mt. Elias off the coast of Alaska. Separation of the two ships, inclement weather, fear of indigenous tribes, disappearance of a shore party, lack of water, and the scourge of scurvy all led to the decision to return to Avacha Bay on Kamchatka island. The unlucky crew of the St. Peter was shipwrecked off the coast of what is now Bering Island in October 1741 and through luck, ship building knowledge, fortitude, perseverance, and seamanship, managed to build another ship from the wreck, and sailed back too Avacha Bay in 1742. It would be remiss to neglect to mention the life saving knowledge of Georg Stellar, the botanist, and naturalist who was part of the expedition.
I love learning about slices of history that often go untold. I didn't know anything about this event until I read Island of the Blue Foxes. Brown combines history, science, and maritime to bring this expedition to life.
The story of the world's largest, longest, and best financed scientific expedition of all time, triumphantly successful, gruesomely tragic, and never before fully told The immense 18th-century scientific journey, variously known as the Second Kamchatka Expedition or the Great Northern Expedition, from St. Petersburg across Siberia to the coast of North America, involved over 3,000 people and cost Peter the Great over one-sixth of his empire's annual revenue. Until now recorded only in academic works, this 10-year venture, led by the legendary Danish captain Vitus Bering and including scientists, artists, mariners, soldiers, and laborers, discovered Alaska, opened the Pacific fur trade, and led to fame, shipwreck, and "one of the most tragic and ghastly trials of suffering in the annals of maritime and arctic history."
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)910.916451 — History and Geography Geography and Travel Geography and Travel History, geographic treatment, biography - Discovery. exploration Geography of and travel in areas, regions, places in general Air And Water Pacific Ocean
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
I already knew a bit about the Bering expedition to the Alaskan coast after having read [b:Naturalists at Sea: Scientific Travellers from Dampier to Darwin|17802943|Naturalists at Sea Scientific Travellers from Dampier to Darwin|Glyn Williams|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1366556143l/17802943._SX50_.jpg|24904614] by [a:Glyn Williams|59609|Glyn Williams|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png]. Naturalists at Sea, however, did not give as much of the detailed back story of the expedition as it was just a chapter among many focused mainly on the scientists/naturalists attached to various expeditions since the late 17th century.
I read these books because I really wish I could have been there. I would love to have been able to see these pristine wildernesses and uninhabited or inhabited islands for the first time, when they were untouched and all the species native to that area still thrived. At the same time, it disturbs me greatly that so much is gone now. The toll on species and habitat is vast since the age of exploration to now and it isn't stopping. I only wish we could have done things differently.
That said, the Bering expedition, which is the subject of this book, was the precursor expedition to opening up the Russian Far East and the exploration and exploitation of the Alaskan coast and the interior of Alaska. There is a lot of detailed back story to the expedition from the inception of the idea with Peter the Great to it's eventual demise under Empress Elizabeth. It truly was a remarkable feat and Stephen R. Brown has done a huge amount of research to make this book interesting and accurate.
Along with the details of how the expedition was organized and what they had to go through in order to make it happen, I found the story of and the fraught relationships of the various expedition commanders and Vitus Bering one of the most interesting aspects of the book. I was particularly dismayed at the story of Georg Stellar, the naturalist, who did not get along with the commander of the ship he was on but also with just about every member of the crew.
Sadly I have to return the book to my friend who loaned it to me to read, but I would love to own a copy to reread at some future date. A really interesting and well written book. ( )