Karluk by William Laird McKinlay
William Laird McKinlay was a twenty-five-year-old Scottish schoolteacher when he set out as meteorologist on this 1913 expedition to the Arctic. Barely before the expedition had begun Karluk, their ship, was crushed and sunk in ice. He narrates the story of the crew's nightmare struggle for survival in the face of ignorance, lack of leadership and appalling conditions. No attempt had been made to select the crew for compatibility or strength of character, and they were untrained in any skills essential to survival in the Arctic. So they were left stranded in the Arctic ice while their leader continued his northern exploration, not returning for five years. Eight men died moving across the heaving ice floes, one man shot himself, two died of malnutrition and the rest barely managed to keep alive until rescue came. The account of their ordeal is a deeply moving tribute to human courage and endurance and, above all, to man's overpowering will to live.