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Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure

Culture : Books By Photo by University of Chicago Press

“You stand on the very brink of the unknown, and every duck that you shoot bears pebbles in its gizzard which come from a land which the maps know not”.

Before satellites, before Google Maps, before GPS on your cell phone, there was bold-faced exploration. For a young medical student by the name of Arthur Conan Doyle, such an adventure would serve as inspiration for acclaimed writings that, for centuries since, have won the hearts and minds of readers. For the first time, Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure ($22) captures the intimate writings of a young Doyle who joined a whaling ship, Hope, as the resident surgeon in 1880. There’s lots for any man to learn here.

Doyle trembles at the tumult and sobering might of the sea as he confesses that he “came of age at 80 degrees north latitude”. At this point, Sherlock Holmes existed only in the mind of the great knight, but these experiences would provide the ethos and breadth of knowledge for Doyle’s beloved series. The author writes humorously and with appealing simplicity of life aboard a whaler; the book also includes photos of the ship and crew along with two fiction pieces inspired by Doyle’s experiences. We live in a time largely devoid of great exploration, but Doyle’s exploits inspire and teach just the same, with little deduction required.

Buy Now: $22