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Was American Richard Byrd really the first to fly to the North Pole? And why did enigmatic Australian explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins disappear from the history books?
With the rise of aviation at the beginning of the twentieth century, daring men were finally able to explore the Earth's final frontiers - the Arctic and Antarctic wildernesses. Hoping to resurrect his fading career, the legendary Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen desperately wanted to fly over the North Pole. American naval commander Richard Byrd was determined to beat Amundsen to the prize. An Australian adventurer, George Hubert Wilkins, also joined the competition, initiating a rivalry with Byrd that would last years and take them to the ends of the Earth.
The world watched in fascination as the air race to the North Pole escalated, until in May 1926 Byrd claimed to have reached it in his Fokker Trimotor, the Josephine Ford. But did he really succeed? In 1928, while Amundsen was involved in the bitter dispute that would cost him his life, Byrd announced he would fly to the South Pole. Wilkins was hired by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst to beat him. The competitors unloaded their planes on opposite sides of Antarctica and prepared for the last great race in polar history.
In a carefully researched and thrillingly written narrative, author Jeff Maynard recounts the breathtaking 'Race to the Poles', restoring the remarkable aviator and explorer Sir George Hubert Wilkins - an exceptional but forgotten Australian hero - to his rightful place as a pioneer of scientific exploration. Wings of Ice also examines Admiral Richard Byrd's much-disputed claim to have flown to the North Pole, providing the definitive solution to an intriguing eighty-year-old mystery.
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 1st May 2010
Publisher: Random House Australia
Edition Number: 1