The Man Who Ate His Boots by Anthony Brandt

The Man Who Ate His Boots

The enthralling, often harrowing story of the adventurers who searched in vain for the Northwest Passage, the holy grail of nineteenth-century British exploration. Dozens of missions set out for the Arctic during the first half of the nineteenth century; all ended in failure and many in disaster, as men found themselves starving to death in the freezing wilderness, sometimes with nothing left to eat but their companions' remains. Anthony Brandt t...

Details The Man Who Ate His Boots

TitleThe Man Who Ate His Boots
Release DateMar 2nd, 2010
PublisherKnopf Publishing Group
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Adventure, Biography

Reviews The Man Who Ate His Boots

  • Chris
    I picked this book because I enjoyed The Terror and that book is a "what if" about the Franklin expedition.It's a thumping good read.This is coming from someone who is only mildly interested in the topic of the Northwest Passage.Brandt makes the reader feel cold, which considering the weather in Philly when I was reading this book, is surprising. I felt cold even when I was sitting outside in the sunlight.Brandt also seems to be fair. While ackno...
  • Ms.pegasus
    Rue Britannia…With the wisdom of hindsight, it would have been easy for Anthony Brandt to deride Britain’s obsessive search for a northwest passage in his book THE MAN WHO ATE HIS BOOTS; THE TRAGIC HISTORY OF THE SEARCH FOR THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE. Instead, Brandt has written about the half century of arctic exploration between the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the beginning of the Crimean War with sympathy and insight. Certainly, hubris and n...
  • GoldGato
    The story of the Franklin Expedition has always fascinated me, as did the entire Arctic quest to find the Northwest Passage. To think that it was just about a century and a half ago that mankind still didn't know what was really up there...such bravery. However, having bookshelves full of other books describing most of this Arctic adventure, I can only give this edition two stars, as it ended up reading more like a tenured professor's obligatory ...
  • Vilis
    Diezgan sauss un neizbēgamu atkārtojumu pilns stāsts par cīņām ar arktiskajām jūrām, kur prasījās drusku vairāk par cilvēkiem, lai atjauktu badošanās un aukstuma aprakstus, jo tagad viņi visi arī juka kopā. Droši vien būtu paticis labāk, ja nebūtu lasījis e-grāmatā un nevajadzētu visu laiku meklēt sīkos līcīšus kartēs telefonā.
  • Meagan
    Going in to this book, I had honestly very little knowledge of Arctic exploration. It was all along the lines of "I think I maybe heard a story about something like that one time," or "Yeah, I think his name sounds familiar." Nothing concrete, and definitely nothing meaningful or useful. In fact, I'm certain that this book ended up on my reading list because of a positive review, rather than any driving interest on my part. Imagine my surprise wh...
  • Ugo Marsolais
    Quite an exhaustive story of the various expeditions of the 19th century that mapped the Canadian artic archipelago and discovered the famous North-West "Passage", which turned out to be impossible to navigate - until the invention of ice-breaker ships in the 20th century - owing to being permanently iced-over. Anthony Brandt does a good job of telling the stories, the personalities and the harrowing, terrible hardships the explorers faced, culmi...
  • J
    A comprehensive history of Britain's search for the Northwest Passage to the Orient during the 19th century. Who wouldn't love reading about men stuck in the ice for years at a time, first contacts with Inuits, a worldwide rescue effort, and of course, men reduced to eating their boots? If you like survival stories and have an interest in the Arctic, you'll be a happy armchair explorer.
  • Darcy Gregg
    Got this book for my Dad and thought I'd try it and kept thinking I'll stop, but was dragged into the extreme conditions that these explorers went through and was amazed that once they'd recovered they would sign up to do it again! We think we have had a tough day if it's cold or got stuck in traffic, books like this make me very grateful for the luxuries we take granted, including all the beautiful places around the world that were once discover...
  • Sarah
    I can't imagine much that would be more miserable than exploring the arctic. Occasionally this book lost my interest, veering into side stories that took too long, but the meat of it was good and, wow, some real misery was had in the quest for the Northwest Passage. Simon Vance narrates the audiobook. I could listen to him read the phone book.
  • Evan Brandt
    Not claiming objectivity here, but I must say, up to part V and have enjoyed what could have been a dusty, depressing read given the subject matter.Not so.The author, a lovely man, has verve and panache.As a constant reader of history books, now that they're all the rage, there are several things I liked very much about this one.1) It was written by my father and he's a pretty nice guy.2) Even though I am a fan of history books, I sometimes feel ...
  • Punk
    Non-Fiction. Concentrates on the period of British history following the Napoleonic Wars, covering 1818-1880, with a focus on John Franklin. 1818 was the year Franklin went on his first expedition to the arctic, and 1880 saw what would be the last of the Franklin search expeditions until the end of the twentieth century. The book covers more than just Franklin, but his first and last trips act like a set of bookends, neatly propping the whole thi...
  • J.S.
    Anthony Brandt tells a surprisingly interesting story of the British search for the Northwest Passage - a long-sought route to the Far East by going around the Americas to the north. While he briefly covers early efforts, the core of the book focuses on the first half of the 1800s and men like John Ross, William Edward Parry, James Clark Ross (nephew to the elder Ross), and John Franklin - the man who literally ate his boots to avoid starvation. ...
  • Russell Libonati
    I listened to this book from an mp3 I downloaded from my library.Some books are easy to listen to in the car. Others are impossible. This one was a bit difficult because there were a lot of details given. The book was a bit long for my taste as it went through more than just one explorer, which I do think was necessary. This is a history related book so if you don't like history avoid it. Personally I love survival stories and hearing about the c...
  • Kathleen
    History isn't written by the victor, it's written by the most kick ass wife on the winning side. Seriously, just about the only name associated with the Northwest Passage that I knew before reading this book was John Franklin's. It turns out that he didn't travel the furthest or suffer the most in the arctic ice, while he was a great adventurer, there is no proof that he ever even found a Northwest Passage. At most, he died in the vicinity of one...
  • Oana
    A fantastic introduction to the Franklin arctic expeditions, as well as a survey of the search for the Northwest Passage. Good details with useful source notes (make sure to read them as there are some extra details), a thorough bibliography, five maps and a chronology of expeditions from 1818-1880 (I'll be referring to this Cole's Notes list from now on). I also appreciated that the author, as an American, used the term "Inuit."What would have b...
  • Paula
    It is very dry. Be prepared to read this book as you do a text book- ie with a note pad- and record every date. While the author brings in personalities of the main players, in interesting yet brief asides, he also assumes you remember every date of every polar enterprise over a multi CENTURY period of arctic exploration. He almost NEVER relates the timing to any other event- they are simply listed as a serious of month/year... If only he had don...
  • Rebecca
    The Man Who Ate His Boots is jam packed--like a Royal Navy ship trapped in a polar ice floe--with historical detail, yet thanks to Brandt's writing style, it retains a light tone that propels the action forward and makes it hard to put down. It's essential reading for anyone interested in British maritime history, Arctic exploration, the Canadian fur trade, shipwrecks, cannibalism and, of course, fans of Dan Simmons' The Terror.
  • Jennifer
    A fascinating story of a terrible adventure gone horribly wrong.
  • Brandon Cooper
    In contrast to a few of the adventure-themed exploration books I've been reading, Anthony Brandt's The Man Who Ate His Boots is a more serious attempt at a more traditional historical account. It contains far fewer salacious accounts, and it reads dryly from beginning to end. That in itself is not a bad thing; histories need not always be dramatized to be dramatic. The story is juicy enough without trying to add flavor.Brandt's only drawback is t...
  • Gary Howard
    Its ultimately a terrible tragedyInformative yet kinda dry. I felt that a good bit of the back story about their personal lives could have been omitted and not really lost much of the story. But, I didn't write the damn book.I skipped over most of the personal stuff.Overall not too bad.
  • Samuel
    A very thorough summary of the expeditions in search of the northwest passage. Can drag a little bit at times and keeping tracks of the names of who did what can be a bit difficult too. Overall a great book and worth the read.
  • Ellie Price
    Did not finish
  • Mouldy Squid
    Every school child in Canada learns about the Last Franklin Expedition; the myth, the legend and the few known hard facts. In its time the fate of the 128 officers and crew was the world's greatest mystery and was only conclusively solved in the late 20th Century, almost 150 years after Franklin sailed two ships out of Liverpool and into the arctic. Brandt supplies a wealth of historical information and deftly weaves it into a gripping and, ultim...
  • Todd Stockslager
    Sweating out the Northwest PassageSo not I'm not sure if it was the weather (90+ temperatures and wringing-wet humidity--but no rain of course!) in Raleigh that prompted me to seek solace in the vast Arctic ice floes, or if it was the title of Brandt's book. I'm always a sucker for a title like this, with a near-endless fascination by travel, adventures, and exploration at the edges of human habitation, so this book was as sure-fire of a pre-sold...
  • Ali
    A harrowing tale, even if I already knew how it would turn out.  The disadvantage to listening to an audiobook was that I missed the maps that were surely in the printed book.  And I wanted maps, to see where the voyages actually went.  Actually, I wanted to see an interactive map that would show all of the rescue parties running around the arctic not quite meeting up with each other.  And most definitely not meeting up with any of the surviv...
  • Elgin
    This excellent book was a Christmas present from one of my daughters and her husband. I enjoyed it tremendously (and debated between 4 and 5 stars, finally settling on 4 because the lack of enough good maps.) I had earlier read Dan Simmons "The Terror", a fictional account of the fate of the Franklin expedition on which he led the ships Terror and Erebus on a quest for the Northwest Passage. The two books went well together and I was pleased to n...
  • Ursula
    England spent a lot of time searching for a Northwest Passage for their ships. Brandt covers the gamut of efforts to find it, many of which ended tragically, and some which, miraculously enough, ended with everyone back home in England, although without having found the passage. One of the early attempts that was so incredible as to sound fictional was the 17th-century voyage of Thomas James. He had to winter in the Arctic, and to avoid having hi...
  • Tom
    This is a pretty solid overview of the history of the pre-modern exploration of the Arctic, with a strong focus on the expeditions of Sir John Franklin and Great Britain's national obsession with finding the fabled Northwest Passage. The tale of that search and of Franklin in particular is as fraught with hubris and tragedy as any Greek classic. It deserves a strong storyteller's sensibilities. Brandt doesn't fully deliver, I feel, but he still m...
  • Jenny Brown
    A brilliant retelling of the history of Arctic exploration that culminated in the search for Sir John Franklin. It's a long, dense read but gripping throughout. Brandt brings alive the stories of the many explorers who suffered through long winters frozen into the ice living in conditions it hardly seems possible humans could survive. He also illuminates the pigheaded stubborn bureaucrat's whose refusal to open their minds to the fact dooms hundr...
  • Susan
    This is an epic history of the (mostly British) men who attempted to navigate the Northwest Passage only to become trapped in ice winter after winter. You may recognize the names that adorn the northern landscape: Barrow, Franklin, J. Ross, J. C. Ross, Parry, Hudson, Cook, Back, etc. These were some of the major players in polar exploration. These men mapped and named many of the straights and islands of Northern Canada.Along with becoming icebou...