Death on the Barrens

Death on the Barrens

A True Story of Courage and Tragedy in the Canadian Arctic

Book - 2010
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Set in the remote arctic region of Northern Canada, this book takes readers on a harrowing canoe voyage that results in tragedy, redemption, and, ultimately, transformation. George Grinnell was one of six young men who set off on the 1955 expedition led by experienced wilderness canoeist Art Moffatt. Poorly planned and executed, the journey seemed doomed from the start. Ignoring the approaching winter, the men became entranced with the peace and beauty of the arctic in autumn. As winter closed in, they suddenly faced numbing cold and dwindling food. When the crew is swept over a waterfall, Moffatt is killed and most of the gear and emergency food supplies destroyed. Confronting freezing conditions and near starvation, the remaining crew struggled to make it back to civilization. For Grinnell, the three-month expedition was both a rite of passage and a spiritual odyssey. In the Barrens, he lost his sense of identity and what he had been conditioned to think about society and himself. Forever changed by the experience, he unsparingly describes how the expedition influenced his adult life and what powerful insights he was able to glean from this life-altering experience.

Publisher: Berkeley, Calif. : North Atlantic, 2010.
ISBN: 9781556438820
Characteristics: xiii, 281 p. :,ill., maps ;,23 cm.


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Feb 25, 2015

It was my pleasure to get an earlier edition of this book as a gift. It is a spell-binding true story of an adventure in the North. It is a page-turner, I can't recommend this enough! I still have my copy on my shelf.

Jul 07, 2011

True story of an adventure and tragedy that take place in Canada - all participants are American. So not really a Canadian book. That being said, the book is a poignant story about young men looking for 'adventure', all fuelled by myths about 'manliness'. The trip is clearly doomed from the start. The trip takes place in 1955, the book is written about 40 years later; the author is obviously haunted by the events of the ill-fated trip down an Artic riiver. Evocative, sad, thoughtfully written. Well worth a read.

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