A Booklist Best Literary Travel Book (2017) and Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book (2016)
“A penetrating study of human character in a challenging environment. . . . [David Welky’s] seamless narrative, chilling at times and always thought-provoking, transports the reader to a time when the Arctic was virtually as harsh and inaccessible a place as the Moon or Mars.” —Natural History
From a snow-swept hill in the ice fields northwest of Greenland, famed Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary spots a line of mysterious peaks dotting the horizon. In 1906, he names that distant, uncharted territory “Crocker Land.” Years later, two of Peary’s disciples, George Borup and Donald MacMillan, take the brave steps Peary never did: with a team of amateur adventurers and intrepid native guides, they endeavor to reach this unknown land and fill in the last blank space on the globe. What follows is hardship and mishap the likes of which none of the explorers could possibly have imagined. From howling blizzards and desperate food shortages to crime and tragedy, the explorers experience a remarkable journey of endurance, courage, and hope. Set in one of the world’s most inhospitable places, A Wretched and Precarious Situation is an Arctic tale unlike any other.