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Old 03-02-2013, 08:42   #1
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Dangerous Work

In 1880, a third year medical student at the University of Edinburgh embarked on a six month voyage on the Arctic whaler HOPE as the ship's surgeon under the captainship of the famous Scottish mariner Captain John Gray. They embarked from Peterhead, Scotland in search of Bowhead whales, Belugas, Narwhals, Bottlenose as well as walruses, polar bears and seals. Their journey took them along the old whaling routes near the waters of Greenland, Norway, Spitsbergen, the Davis Strait and Hudson and Baffin Bays. The young doctor was Arthur Conan Doyle and he recorded this six month journey of personal discovery in his handwritten "Log of the SS Hope, Volumes I and II" which has been published by the Universiy of Chicago Press, 2012 as "Dangerous Work: Dairy of an Arctic Adventure." The book is a fascinating collection of his journey with vivid historic period photography as well as his personal drawings of the ship, his mates, the Arctic environment and the species they hunted. It is a compelling glimpse into the late 19th Century and the end of an era as whaling was in its demise and, to the modern reader who has distanced himself from our primordial connection to the animal world, a realistic look at Man's need to harvest and dominate Nature. The first half of the book is the exact photographic replication of Doyle's logs in his own handwriting and the second half is the printed version for those not willing to trudge through the original account. At the end of the book is a small collection of short stories representative of Doyle's early work and a gem of fiction "The Captain and the Pole Star," which is reminiscent of Conrad's rich philosophical style and is the short story that launched Doyle's literary career. This important piece of literary history is a must read for anyone interested in high latitude sailing as told by a master storyteller. Because of its esoteric nature, I have chosen to include this here among those interested in Polar Regions rather than the more generalized "Book Review" section.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:12   #2
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Re: Dangerous Work

Thanks for the information, see it is listed on Amazon, one to buy I think.
Here is a link to a UK review.
Dangerous Work by Arthur Conan Doyle: review - Telegraph
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