A riveting true adventure story.... An award-winning, bestselling author... A page-turner that's impossible to put down.
Almost everyone knows the photo of John F. Kennedy, Jr., as a young boy, peering out from under his father's desk in the Oval Office. But few realize that the desk itself plays a part in one of the world's most extraordinary mysteries--a dramatic tale that has never before been told in its full scope. Acclaimed historian Martin Sandler--a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, winner of seven Emmy#65533; Awards, and author of more than 50 books--finally brings the entire story to light. This amazing high-seas adventure encompasses the search for the Northwest Passage in the early 1800s; a renowned explorer and his crew of 128 men who vanish during an 1845 expedition; 39 incredible, heroic attempted rescue missions; a ghost ship that drifts for more than 1,200 miles; a queen's gratitude; and that famous desk. Fascinating rare photographs, paintings, engravings, and maps illustrate the book throughout. It all began when, in one of the biggest news stories of the 19th century, Sir John Franklin and his ships the Erebus and the Terror disappeared while attempting to locate the fabled Northwest Passage. At the request of Franklin's wife, Lady Jane, the first mission set out from England in hopes of finding him; many others followed in its wake, none successful. Among these was the Resolute , the finest vessel in Queen Victoria's Navy. But in 1854 it became locked in Arctic ice and was abandoned by its captain. A year later, a Connecticut whaler discovered it 1,200 miles away--drifting and deserted, a 600-ton ghost ship. He and his small crew boarded the Resolute , and steered it through a ferocious hurricane back to New London, Connecticut. The United States government then reoutfitted the ship and returned it to the thankful Queen. In 1879, when the Resolute was finally retired, she had the best timbers made into a desk for then-President Rutherford B. Hayes. It is still used by U.S. presidents today...one of the most celebrated pieces of furniture in the White House.