Book Review – ‘Discovering the North-West Passage: The four-year Arctic odyssey of H.M.S. ‘Investigator’ and the McClure Expedition’ by Richard L. Bland

By Richard L. Bland, published October 2020


In 1845 Sir John Franklin set out in command of the ships Erebus and Terror to discover the Northwest Passage. As the years passed without word from Franklin, increasing anxiety rose about the fate of the expedition. Rescue missions were sent out to find the missing ships. One of those missions, departing England in 1850, consisted of the ships Enterprise and Investigator, commanded by Richard Collinson and Robert McClure, respectively.

The reader of Stein’s book follows the day-to-day journey, with all the inner passions and turmoil of the crew, from London, around Cape Horn, to Bering Strait and into the frozen islands of the Canadian Arctic. The author is well versed in the traditions of nineteenth-century sailing ships, the equipping of them and the society of the sailors aboard them.

With 63 illustrations (including sketches by a member of the crew) and 123 pages of appendices, notes, bibliography and index, the book is well researched and has such great detail that, even though it is quite readable, it doubles as a reference work for Arctic exploration …

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Filed under: Arctic
Subjects include: Navies | Science & Exploration

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