Great Controversy Who Discovered the North Pole Part 3 Pro Cook

About the controversy over who really discovered the North Pole, arguments for Cook's story.

GREAT CONTROVERSIES

WHO REALLY DISCOVERED THE NORTH POLE?

THE CONTROVERSY

PRO COOK

After studying Cook's journal, Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian Arctic explorer and discoverer of the South Pole, was convinced that Cook had discovered the pole nearly a year before Peary. Cook had been in the Arctic for 14 months, and his journal records how each day was spent and includes astronomical calculations and geographic observations. Cook's supporters assert that since he had spent over a year in the Arctic wastes, there was no reason why he should not have headed for and reached the North Pole. In 1909 Cook published an account of his exploits, My Attainment of the Pole. The book so graphically describes the Arctic territory and journey that only a very imaginative liar could have faked it.

Cook's supporters argue that the jealous and vindictive Peary and his proponents did everything in their power to discredit Cook. Having given Peary extensive favorable coverage for 20 years, the partisan press attacked Cook, while uncritically heralding Peary as the hero of the pole. Meanwhile, the National Geographic Society, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. government--all biased inasmuch as they had all spent fortunes financing Peary's expeditions--dismissed Cook as a liar without having any real evidence against him. Cook's claim suffered most because of Peary's newspaper popularity and the conniving of Peary's powerful official backers. Some Cook advocates claim that Peary's supporters also fabricated the story that Cook had not really climbed to the top of Mt. McKinley in order to destroy Cook's reputation.

Did Peary even discover the pole? His only witnesses were Henson, his loyal comrade, and four Eskimos, who were never interviewed. Cook's adherents claim that Peary lied about arriving at the pole because he desperately wanted the glory of being its discoverer and was paranoid that Cook would rob him of his dream.

Peary recorded mileage based on dogsled speeds twice as fast as proven possible. If correct, some of Peary's calculations indicate that he was far off course and might have missed the pole completely. Landmarks Peary described later proved nonexistent, and most of his charts were discarded by the navy in 1926 because they were totally inaccurate.

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