Cookman, Scott 1952-
Cookman, Scott 1952-
Atlantic: The Last Great Race of Princes, John Wiley (New York, NY), 2002.
The Great American Camping Cookbook, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals, including Field & Stream, Army, Atlanta, Boundary Waters Journal, and Civil War Times; creator of "Man and Mission" videos featured in the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, Cape Canaveral, FL.
Writer Scott Cookman got the idea for his first book, Ice Blink: The Tragic Fate of Sir John Franklin's Lost Polar Expedition, while staying in a wilderness cabin in Ontario, Canada. Just before leaving, he came across a book about the ill-fated 1845 expedition led by Sir Franklin in search of the Northwest Passage. The book's author set forth the theory that the expedition's two ships and 128-man crew were never seen again because they died of lead poisoning associated with their canned food. "But looking at that thesis, it didn't seem to hold water, so I decided to go looking around for a more plausible explanation for what might have killed off the expedition," the author told Jamie Allen in an article on CNN.com. As a result of his research, Cookman presents his own similar theory in Ice Blink. In Cookman's estimation, the culprit was food poisoning from botulism that had contaminated the canned food, which was a relatively new technology at the time. To tell his story, Cookman draws on recent archaeological evidence as well as accounts from relief expeditions.
Brad Hooper, writing in Booklist, noted that the author presents his case through "artfully narrating a possible course of events." Other critics also praised the author's ability to tell the tale of the lost expedition, including Booklist contributor Gilbert Taylor, who wrote: "Adventure readers will flock to this fine regaling of the enduring mystery surrounding the best-known disaster in Arctic exploration." A Publishers Weekly contributor referred to Ice Blink as "ably researched, sometimes eloquent account."
In his next book, Atlantic: The Last Great Race of Princes, Cookman tells the story of a 1908 yacht race sponsored by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. The Kaiser offered a solid-gold cup to the winner, which he fully expected to obtain himself since he was entering the race and was a renowned yachtsman. "Much of the … book is devoted to the social and economic scene in which the race is set and the characters who inhabited that scene," wrote John Steele Gordon in the New York Times Book Review.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2000, Gilbert Taylor, review of Ice Blink: The Tragic Fate of Sir John Franklin's Lost Polar Expedition, p. 864; September 15, 2000, Brad Hooper, review of Ice Blink, p. 209; April 1, 2001, Brad Hooper, review of Ice Blink, p. 1455.
Library Journal, December, 1999, Robert C. Jones, review of Ice Blink, p. 157.
New York Times Book Review, February 20, 2000, Roland Huntford, review of Ice Blink, p. 11; June 2, 2002, John Steele Gordon, review of Atlantic: The Last Great Race of Princes, p. 32.
Publishers Weekly, February 21, 2000, review of Ice Blink, p. 76.
Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2002, G. Bruce Knecht, review of Atlantic, p. W12.
CNN.com,http://www.cnn.com/ (March 27, 2007), Jamie Allen, "Author Provides New Look at Disastrous Franklin Expedition," interview with author.
MyShelf.com,http://www.myshelf.com/ (September 13, 2004), Fernanda Campos, review of Ice Blink.
SailNet,http://www.sailnet.com/ (September 13, 2004), review of Atlantic.