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1997 Librarian's Cook book interview...
condensed version
Want the real scoop on Dr. Crook?
Read this classic 1915 Congressional Cook roast

by Ken Ringle

Robert M. Bryce has never been north of southern Canada, loathes ice and snow, and restricts his outdoor activity ...a nice 50-year-old librarian... devoted 20-odd years of his life to untangling one of the great geographical cat fights in history: Who discovered the North Pole?

"I never thought of writing a book I never really meant to write this one," his office on the Germantown campus of Montgomery College. ..You get hooked on something like this and start collecting all this material and at some point the book becomes inevitable."....eating penguins and walrus, practicing polar navigation with a molasses-filled "artificial horizon", and sharing the dismay of Josephine Peary, the explorer's wife, entering her first igloo with her husband where she discovers Eskimo women happily lounging topless upon bearskins crawling with lice....

"We librarians are fond of saying that a single book can change your life," he says. "One certainly changed mine."...Frederick A. Cook, the New York milkman... denounced as fraudulent by a social and scientific establishment ...."This man was much more than just a con man. And even if he was a con man, what drove him to do what he did? There had never been a full-length biography of Cook...."The vocabulary and descriptive power of even the rudest members of these expeditions is really amazing."

Likewise, he says, he tried to approach his material with as little bias as possible. ....I did become fascinated with Cook. ... I rather wanted him to have found the Pole. .. But even after his false claim, he appears to have sought to profit no more than would allow him to recoup his costs and support his family....He was imprisoned in 1921 for mail fraud in a pyramiding Texas oil-stock swindle from which, Bryce says, "It's clear he had to have made millions of dollars.

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