Every day thousands of people fly over the North Pole when traveling between the U.S. East Coast and China. So it is hard to grasp just how caught up people were, at the turn of the twentieth century, in the race to reach it by dogsled across the vast ice fields of the Arctic Ocean.

In Battle of Ink and Ice, his very readable debut book on the subject, Darrell Hartman, who has written for The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and many other publications, brings that race to vivid life. But he greatly enriches the story by showing how two great journalists covered it and changed journalism in the process.

The two explorers were Robert Peary and Frederick Cook. The two journalists...


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