A Boy's Eye View of the Arctic
By Kenneth Longley Rawson
âSigned by Rawson with dust jacket
Introduction by Commander Donald B MacMillan
New York: Macmillan, 1926. First Edition with un-clipped dustjacket. 8vo, pp (8), ix-xvi, (2), 142, portrait frontis+ 21 pp. black-and-white photographs, one full-page map. Publisherâs blue-green cloth with black lettering on front and spine. A Near Fine copy bearing the polar bookplate and signature of the author, Kenneth L Rawson. With scarce un-clipped dust jacket in very good condition.
Rawson served as cabin boy of the âBowdoinâ under Donald MacMillan during his 1925 Expedition to the Arctic and later joined MacMillan in a future Arctic expedition. Especially interesting chapters titled: (3) In the Land of Adventure; (4) A Truly Glorious Fourth and Some Very Real Fishing; (5) Through the Pack to Disaster; (6) The Heroes of Hopedale; (7) In Eskimo Land and in Trouble.
This is the only first-person account in book form of MacMillanâs third voyage in the âBowdoinâ to Etah, in 1925, as escort to the U.S.S. Peary under Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennet who were headed north with three Navy amphibian planes. The plan was to establish an air base at Etah and another on Ellesmere Island for a flight to the Pole. There were several setbacks, and 15-year-old Rawson, MacMillanâs cabin boy, was instrumental in ironing out some of the trouble. He gives a very mature account of it all, the cruise along the rugged Labrador and Greenland coasts, the dangerous passage through the middle ice of Melville Bay, descriptions of the places made famous by the early Arctic explorers, and the arrival at Etah where some of Pearyâs Eskimos still lived. Byrd
assembled his planes here and made some exploratory flights to the westward but was unable to reach the Pole that year. (He did it next year via Spitzbergen.) The epilogue of the story is that Rawson went with MacMIllan on his next three voyages, was the navigator on Byrdâs second Antarctic expedition, received the Navy Cross, became Editor-in Chief at Putnamâs, and served in the Navy during World War II as Lt.-Commander in the Pacific.