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 tr...

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...
  • Jimmy Tarlau
    One of the best history books I've read (listened to) in awhile. The book tells the story of the British explorers who sought to find a passage from Europe to Asia North of Canada. It's a part of the world I know very little about. There are over thirty thousand islands in what is called the Canadian Arctic Archiipelago and most of the area is impossible to navigate by boat because of the ice. (Interestingly it is easier to navigate the Northwest...
  • Patrick Book
    This is a pretty remarkable, exhaustive accounting of one of mankind’s greatest follies. The insistence that the northwest passage must be navigable just because certain people thought it should be is nothing short of astounding. The fact that the British never learned a damn thing that could’ve helped them survive from the Indigenous peoples of what would become Canada is astounding. The cost of the repeated missions to the north is astoundi...
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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. Green
    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. ...
  • 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...
  • Michael
    Man, I sure do love me some Arctic exploration books. I've read books about some of the other expeditions mentioned in this book so it was kinda cool to have them all put into a timeline and the history leading up to them. For a group of people that believed they were "far superior" to the lowly "savages" they weren't smart enough to learn from them when it came to surviving in the natives country. Except John Rae of course. That dude was "da' ma...
  • 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.
  • Rebekah Theilen
    Whether holding fast to the belief salt-water couldn't freeze, or guided by the hope their luck would lead them to the place, or like many others searching for a greater life-fortune, these British men of old set out to find a way to sail across the solid Northern Pole. While so many expeditions seem driven by greed, there's a part of me that can't deny the drive toward exploration is built into the heart of men, and even sheep without a Shepherd...
  • Colin
    The British Navy was the primary tool of exploration and expansion - obviously they were good at it, though the northwest passage gave them some trouble. Outside of the native Inuit, no one quiet knew what existed north of Canada, but there were plenty of theories (I.e Open Polar Sea). The Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and French were content with their known trade routes, resigned that nothing outside the Hudson Bay would be useful (arguably, they ...
  • Ned
    I borrowed this from the library thinking it was solely about the last Franklin Expedition, only to discover that it is a significant chunk of the history of trying to find the Northwest Passage in Canada. I kept thinking I'll just skim this book, but no, I spent a month absorbing every page and loving every minute of it.The author really makes the characters come to life, both their good sides and bad, and while I love reading non-fiction expedi...
  • Curt Bozif
    Fascinating read. The humorousness and egotism of the British people during their colonial expansionism and search for the Northwest Passage is appalling and sick. I was rooting for the ice half the time. Also, to be sure, this book is not strictly about Sir John Franklin. It is, as the title suggests, a survey of the many expeditions, that took place over the course of three centuries, in search of said passage.
  • 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.