The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure

By . 4 CDs. 3:53 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4558-5197-3. $54.97.
Gr 5 Up—Eight American whaling ships carrying about 300 sailors were locked in ice off Point Barrow, Alaska, when winter struck early in the fall of 1897. They had little hope of surviving the long, dark winter with their meager supplies. After word of their plight miraculously reached President McKinley, he ordered three men to carry out a seemingly impossible rescue mission. They travelled almost 2000 miles, first by ship, then overland for more than 1700 miles through blizzards, across ice and treacherous terrain. They had to convince indigenous Alaskans to give up their reindeer to the cause, and to help the rescuers drive two herds of reindeer to Point Barrow. Relying on information from primary sources, such as journal entries, letters, and photos, Sandler's true tale (Candlewick, 2012) recounts in fascinating detail the perils of traveling through the Arctic winter, when temperatures can plummet to 60 below zero, and blizzards can blind a man the photos, maps, detailed source notes, and timeline, it still manages to captivate and enthrall with graphic details of the harrowing journey. A section called "What Happened to Them" continues the story of each of the participants, including the reindeer and the indigenous people who were so crucial to the rescue's success. Malcolm Hillgartner narrates the account with clarity and emotion, drawing listeners into this tale of endurance, hardship, and courage, and skillfully bringing this amazing mission to life.—MaryAnn Karre, West Middle School, Binghamton, NY

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