"As a masterly synthesis of so much of his previous work, Arctic Labyrinth is a fitting capstone to Williams's authorial career."--Jonathan Dore"Arctic Bk Rev" (05/15/2010)
"Uses extensive research into the journals kept, the maps sketched, and newspaper headlines that mark their expeditions to create vivid pictures of these larger-than-life explorers."--Michael Beeman"Foreword" (04/01/2010)
"Whether one is new to the topic or has read widely on it, Williams' elegant prose and probing critiques make this a vital contribution to Arctic history."--David A. James"Fairbanks Daily News-Miner" (12/04/2011)
"The first really comprehensive and analytical book written by an authority on that subject."--Journal Of World History (07/24/2012)
"A fine new book . . . offers a comprehensive narrative."-- (03/12/2010)
"Williams charts the entire sweep of this extraordinary history."--Living The Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted) (07/09/2010)
"This one is essential for all libraries . . . and all serious readers." STARRED REVIEW-- (04/01/2010)
"Rich detail adds to the well-worn story of futility and human failings that marked the mapping of the far North. . . . Highly recommended."-- (01/01/2011)
For centuries British navigators dreamt of finding the Northwest Passage - the route over the top of North America that would open up the fabulous wealth of Asia to British merchants. We know now that, while several such passages exist, during the period of the search by sailing vessels they were choked by impassable ice. But this knowledge was slowly won, as expedition after expedition, under the most terrible conditions, slowly filled in their patchy and sometimes fatally misleading charts.
Arctic Labyrinth tells this extraordinary story with great skill and brilliance. From the tiny, woefully equipped ships of the first Tudor expeditions to the icebreakers and nuclear submarines of the modern era, Glyn Williams describes how every form of ingenuity has been used to break through or try to get round the nightmarish ice barriers set in a maze of sterile islands. The heroism, folly and horror of these voyages seem almost unbelievable, with entire ships crushed, mass starvation, epics of endurance - and all in pursuit of a goal that ultimately proved futile.
Williams's book is both an important work of exploration and naval history, and a remarkable study in human delusion and fortitude.