Frederick Cook is nowadays first and foremost remembered as the greatest fraud in the annals of polar exploration – the man who falsely claimed to have reached the North Pole and to have ascended Mount McKinley/Denali. This should not be allowed to disguise that he was a competent polar hand. Perhaps his finest hour is described in this book, when he as the ship's surgeon aboard the Belgica Antarctic expedition did his best to save the crew from the effects of a wintering in the wastes of the south polar ice for which they were woefully unprepared. Along the way, he struck up a firm friendship with the first mate, the unknown Norwegian seaman Roald Amundsen, a friendship that survived both Cook's fall from grace and Amundsen's rise to fame.
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