Finding Franklin: The Untold Story of a 165-Year Search

Finding Franklin: The Untold Story of a 165-Year Search

by Russell Potter
  • english-from-canada
  • from-the-atlantic-canada
  • from-the-north
  • history-politics-current-affairs

In 2014 media around the world buzzed with news that an archaeological team from Parks Canada had located and identified the wreck of HMS Erebus, the flagship of Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition to find the Northwest Passage. Finding Franklin outlines the larger story and the cast of detectives from every walk of life that led to the discovery, solving one of the Arctic’s greatest mysteries. In compelling and accessible prose, Russell Potter details his decades of work alongside key figures in the era of modern searches for the expedition and elucidates how shared research and ideas have led to a fuller understanding of the Franklin crew’s final months.

Illustrated with numerous images and maps from the last two centuries, Finding Franklin recounts the more than fifty searches for traces of his ships and crew, and the dedicated, often obsessive, men and women who embarked on them. Potter discusses the crucial role that Inuit oral accounts, often cited but rarely understood, played in all of these searches, and continue to play to this day, and offers historical and cultural context to the contemporary debates over the significance of Franklin’s achievement.


Russell Potter, author

Russell A. Potter is professor of English at Rhode Island College and the author of Arctic Spectacles: The Frozen North in Visual Culture, 1818-1875.


  • With ambitious scope and profound depth, Potter deftly demonstrates that truth can indeed be stranger and more fascinating than fiction. This seamless blend of research and captivating storytelling showcases the curiosity, frailty, and endurance of the human spirit. - Publishers Weekly
  • Just as Franklin and his contemporaries deserve a better remembrance in Britain, Russell Potter’s thoughtful, generous, deeply informed and elegant book deserves to be read. It cannot be recommended too highly to anyone wanting to reconnect with this extraordinary chapter in Britain’s history, or succumb to its haunting fascination for the first time. - Times Literary Supplement

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: McGill-Queen's University Press



rights available: World

Additional Information

number of pages: 280

publication date: 07/01/2016

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book