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Item #: OP259AB-677
THE SHAMELESS DIARY OF AN EXPLORER [Mt McKinley] Robert Dunn 1907 1st ed Hardcover Fine
By Dunn, Robert
Price: $225.00

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New York, 1907, 1st edition. 297 pp, 11 photos, maps. Account of the 1903 attempt on, and circuit of, Mount McKinley with Frederick Cook. Dunn also made the first ascents of Mt. Wrangell and Mt. Shishaldin, and gives an accurate appraisal of Cook's personality. Hardcover with gilt lettering and decoration, Fine. 

In 1903, aspiring journalist Robert Dunn joined an expedition attempting the first ascent of Mt. McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. Led by explorer Frederick Cook (who would later win infamy for faking the discovery of the North Pole), the climbers failed to conquer McKinley, but they did circumnavigate the great peak—an accomplishment not repeated until 1978. The trek also spawned a book unique in the literature of exploration: Dunn’s frank, sardonic, no-holds-barred look at day-to-day existence on an Alaskan expedition.

Before Dunn, most such accounts were sanitized and expurgated of anything unflattering. Dunn, however, a protégé of the muckraker Lincoln Steffens, endeavored to report what he saw, with panache. And what Dunn reported was a journey rife with conflict, missed opportunity, incompetence, privation, and danger. By showing men reduced to their rawest state, the young journalist produced a compelling, insightful, and oddly amusing book that disturbed and riveted his contemporaries.

As Hudson Stuck—the Episcopal archdeacon of the Yukon who completed the first ascent of Mt. McKinley in 1913—observed, “[Dunn’s] book has a curious undeniable power, despite its brutal frankness. . . . One is thankful, however, that it is unique in the literature of travel.”

Cook falsely claimed to have summited McKinley in a later expedition in 1906. Cook's version of events in that expedition was chronicled in his book To the Top of the Continent.


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