by Martin W. Sandler
“Resolute: The Epic Search for the Northwest Passage and John Franklin, and the Discovery of the Queen’s Ghost Ship” is a perfect book to anyone interested in 18th century arctic exploration. Martin W. Sandler is the author of this awesome and beautiful book. The book is mainly about the search for the Northwest Passage and the missing Franklin Expedition. These subjects definitely make the book worthwhile, particularly the latter. “The longest and most expensive search and rescue mission ever undertaken” lasted twelve years, involved scores of ships and thousands of officers and men and saw its share of the good (Lady Franklin and Capt. Henry Kellet), the bad (Sir Edward Belcher), and the ugly (Lt. Robert McClure) along the way. Perhaps stories discovered by Hall were attributed to Rae in the film. Sandler definitely used the documentary in his work as, towards the end, he used direct quotes from expert analysts from “Arctic Passage.”
The most important part of this book for this reviewer is the examination of the search expeditions that set out to find Franklin. The work is well-researched with an epilogue on the fates of some of the principal players, Timeline of events, an illustration of the plans for the “HMS Resolute,” instructions given to Sir John Franklin, 23 pages of chapter notes, and illustrations throughout along with two sections of glossy photos. The story of the search expeditions, though, is full of intrigue and the character development is such that this reviewer acquired strong likes and even stronger dislikes of some of the people involved. Overall, “Resolute” is highly recommended to readers interested in maritime history.