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After the Lost Franklin Expedition (Paperback)

Lady Franklin and John Rae

P&S History > British History > Victorian History P&S History > By Century > 19th Century P&S History > Explorers & Adventurers

By Peter Baxter
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 270
Illustrations: 20
ISBN: 9781526765864
Published: 13th January 2020


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The fate of the lost Franklin Expedition of 1847 is an enigma that has tantalised generations of historians, archaeologists and adventurers. The expedition was lost without a trace and all 129 men died in what is arguably the worst disaster in Britain's history of polar exploration.

In the aftermath of the crew's disappearance, Lady Jane Franklin, Sir John's widow, maintained a crusade to secure her husband's reputation, imperiled alongside him and his crew in the frozen wastes of the Artic. Lady Franklin was an uncommon woman for her age, a socially and politically astute figure who ravaged anyone who she viewed as a threat to her husband's legacy.

Meanwhile John Rae, an explorer and employee of the Hudson Bay Company, recovered deeply disturbing information from the Expedition. His shocking conclusions embroiled him in a bitter dispute with Lady Franklin which led to the ruin of his reputation and career. Against the background of Victorian society and the rise of the explorer celebrity, we learn of Lady Franklin’s formidable grit to honour her husband’s legacy; of John Rae being discredited and his eventual ruin, despite later being proven right. It is a fascinating assessment of the aftermath of the Franklin Expedition and its legacy.

The author has provided an assessment of the aftermath of the Franklin Expedition and its legacy.

World Ship Society - Marine News, May 2020

There is some good stuff in the book.

Journal of the Victorian Military Society

As featured in

Coastal Command and Maritime Association

"This book goes someway to explaining the intrigue of the period much of it disingenuous. Another well explored cannon to that which is already known of the saga and search for the North west passage."

Review by

Chris Roche, South West Maritime Society

As featured in

The Bookseller, October 2019

This is a fascinating story.

Ripperologist, October 2019

As featured in the 'reading corner'

Britain, December 2019

After the Lost Franklin Expedition immerses the reader in high Victorian melodrama with keen and incisive characterisation and a touch of satire. It is highly recommended to all us former colonials.

Read the full review here

Australian Naval Institute

A beautiful book on a story that is always fascinating and that even today, in 2019, reveals new aspects to us.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

Listed in 'Media Mash' feature

Adventure Travel, September 2019

Lady Jane apparently left nearly 200 journals and over 2,000 letters when she died in 1875, and no doubt Baxter has used these to inform his narrative.

Nautilus Telegraph

It is a wonder that no one has thought to make a film about this incredible true story. Peter Baxter's book is a treasure trove of information about the Franklin expedition and Franklin's widow's attempts to set the record straight. Fantastic.

Books Monthly

About Peter Baxter

Peter Baxter is an author, amateur historian and African field, mountain and heritage travel guide. Born in Kenya and educated in Zimbabwe, he has lived and travelled over much of southern and central Africa. Peter lives in Oregon, USA, working on the marketing of African heritage travel as well as a variety of book projects. His interests include British Imperial history in Africa and the East Africa campaign of the First World War in particular.

Sir John Franklin is born

16th April 1786

Sir John Franklin, leader of the doomed expedition, was born on 16 April 1786 in Spilsby, Lincolnshire.

View all events View all anniversaries

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