“It may not be inapt to liken the attainment of the North Pole to the winning of a game of chess… It was an old game for me— a game which I had been playing for twenty-three years, with varying fortunes. Always, it is true, I had been beaten, but with every defeat came fresh knowledge of the game… Every defeat was analyzed as to its causes in all their bearings, until it became possible to believe that those causes could in future be guarded against and that, with a fair amount of good fortune, the losing game of nearly a quarter of a century could be turned into one final, complete success.” – Robert E. Peary in The North Pole, published in 1910
In 1908, Peary, again onboard the Roosevelt, left New York harbor cognizant of the ultimatum that lay before him. He was getting older, more people were attempting to reach the Pole, and funding was running out. He realized this trip, regardless of success or defeat, would likely be his last. Consequently, he doubled his efforts, enacting a meticulous plan for perfected supplies and a hardy, disciplined support team. The 1908-1909 expedition marked Peary’s final battle against the forces of nature and his attainment of the Pole. Though romanticized and contested, this expedition is undoubtedly his most famous. It is the voyage that claimed the Pole for Peary, his men, his country, and, ultimately, his global community. Quotes in this section are taken from The North Pole, published in 1910.