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AMUNDSEN, Roald "The North West Passage". Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration of the Ship "Gjoa" 1903-1907, by Roald Amundsen with a Supplement by First Lieutenant Hansen, Vice-Commander of the Expedition. With about one hundred and thirty-nine illustrations and three maps.
London. Archibald Constable and Company. 1908.
23cm, the First Edition, in 2 volumes, xiii,335 & ix,397pp., with two gravure frontis plates (portrait & ships), and 237 plates and illustrations, 3 maps (2 folding in rear pocket), original gilt stamped and decorated dark green cloth, bevelled boards, top edges gilt, complete with half titles, wanting the front blank free fly in both volumes, some slight unobtrusive foxing on the preliminary leaves of both volumes, fine condition. (cgc) Cooke p299. A.B. 402. Narrative of the first expedition to navigate the Northwest Passage in a single vessel, the expedition that brought Amundsen to prominence as a polar explorer. In 1901 he gave up the idea of medicine and decided to become an explorer. After several months in Hamburg studying the science of terrestrial magnetism, he purchased an old ship, the Gjoa, 70ft long and thirty years old. He put in a 14 hp engine; then, with six dogs and enough provisions on board, he got under way with a crew of six on 17 June, 1903. His aim was to find the North-West Passage which had been sought in vain since the time of John Cabot. In September, he crossed Peel Sound and anchored in a sheltered bay on King William Island. Eskimos came up to him who knew of the existence of white men by oral tradition only. Seventy-two years earlier, James Ross, had sailed in these regions with Parry. Amundsen bought tooth and bone necklaces and clothes which later enriched the Oslo museum. He also spent two winters learning about the Eskimo way of life. In Oct. 1905, he set out again for the North-West Passage. On August 30th the Gjoa entered the Nome roadstead. For the first time in world history a ship sailing north of America had found a way from the Atlantic to the Pacific.