The Polar Controversy between Frederick Cook and Robert Peary

This essay first appeared in the June 2021 issue of Choice (volume 58 | issue 10).


Was he the greatest of heroes, or the biggest liar who ever talked? That was the question on everyone’s mind in the entire industrialized world in September 1909. It divided families, alienated lifelong friends, and has been debated for more than a century. The man in question was Frederick Albert Cook, a medical doctor and veteran explorer of both polar zones. 

About the Author:

Robert M. Bryce is the retired head librarian of Montgomery College in Germantown, MD.  He is an independent scholar focusing on polar exploration, and the author of two books and numerous papers, articles, and book reviews on the subject.