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To the Pole

The Diary and Notebook of Richard E. Byrd, 1925–1927

Edited by Raimund E. Goerler

“It is a measure of the enduring fame of Richard Evelyn Byrd that nearly 72 years after he claimed to have been the first man to fly over the North Pole, scholars, navigators and polar explorers are still arguing over whether he actually made it. . . . To the Pole . . . helps to penetrate some of the mythology shrouding the Byrd persona, and both supporters and distractors of Byrd will relish it. . . . It makes some long-standing questions seem all the more fascinating.” —New York Times Book Review

On May 9, 1926, Richard E. Byrd announced to the world that he and copilot Floyd Bennett were the first to fly an airplane over the North Pole. Documents published here for the first time provide new insights into this most controversial accomplishment of Byrd’s career.

To the Pole presents transcriptions of Byrd’s handwritten diary and notebook, which were discovered by Ohio State University archivist Raimund Goerler in 1996 when he was cataloging Byrd’s papers for the university. In his diary Byrd recorded his preparations for the North Pole flight, and he used it as a message pad to communicate with his pilot when the deafening noise from the plane's engines rendered verbal communication impossible.

Byrd also wrote his navigational calculations on the leaves of his diary, and photographs of these crucial pages are presented in the book as well, along with a copy of Byrd’s official report on the expedition to the National Geographic Society.

Also included in the book are portions of the diary dealing with Byrd’s earlier expedition to Greenland and his flight across the Atlantic in 1927. Goerler has written an introduction and epilogue providing historical context for Byrd’s achievements and biographical information on the rest of his extraordinary career. The volume is illustrated with maps and a number of photographs from the Byrd archive.

Feb 1998
120 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2   Maps, illus

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