“Transcendent. A brilliant, thought-provoking exploration of the role of archaeology in understanding the recent past…”— James Delgado.
“Going beyond the single viewpoint of expedition commanders, a succession of engagingly written and sometimes brilliantly researched volumes has produced new and detailed accounts of one expedition after another, enriching the official published and archival resources with newsprint, memorabilia and the letters and diaries of participants preserved by their descendants. Peter Capelotti is one such exploration historian, who in 2013 published Shipwreck at Cape Flora, a fine account of the five voyages of the British amateur yachtsman Benjamin Leigh Smith to Svalbard and Franz Josef Land in the 1870s and 80s. Now he has written an even more impressive portrayal…
The Times Literary Supplement, 27 January 2017
Read my latest interview: the Washington Post wanted to know where the whale bones in the Smithsonian came from. The answer has a lot to do with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Torgny Nordin of the Stockholm daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet has an extensive review of The Greatest Show in the Arctic: the American exploration of Franz Josef Land, 1898-1905.
“Capelotti’s purpose is to describe what happened and analyze why the expeditions failed so abysmally. Thanks to access to new source material and close reading of the correspondence, the author acts like a detective on the trail of the various expeditions, from the political background to the treacherous ice to the incompetent leadership. This is no hero story, but more often it has the aspect of a doomed plot. With the key at times the logistical details – the number of polar bears shot, killed and slaughtered sled dogs and ponies all presented with chilling objectivity – Capelotti evokes a picture of both astonishing dedication and icy futility.”