Captain Mac is the adventurous life story of a man who explored the Arctic and subarctic for nearly 50 years. The book features the vital role he played in Robert Peary’s 1908-09 North Pole Expedition, as well as his relationships with explorers Peary, Matthew Henson, and Richard Byrd. His distinguished career included pioneering the use of radio and aircraft in Arctic exploration, and countless contributions to environmental science and to the cultural understanding of eastern Arctic peoples. Numerous photographs augment the text.
Featured Book Review: Science Books
& Films. (American Association for the Advancement of Science). This thrilling biography of an endearing and enduring
iconic arctic explorer should appeal to young people and adults alike. The
copious archival photos of trips … illustrate the text so well that the reader
might feel that he or she were reliving the expeditions…. Captain Mac is both
an American hero and an American humanitarian. We need more stories like this
Recommended Book, National
Science Teachers Association:
This fascinating story should be enjoyed by young students seeking a written
adventure. … facilitators will be able to develop interdisciplinary lessons in
geography, anthropology, and ecology.
Based largely on interviews and primary sources, this profile authoritatively
retraces the career of a dedicated Arctic explorer. … the severe hardships and
wild beauties of the Arctic come through as strongly as [Cowan’s] case for the
significance of his achievements.
Library Journal: [Grades 5-9] …covers the life
and achievements of the Arctic explorer. … Archival photos with explanatory
captions appear on nearly every page. The author skillfully weaves primary-source
quotes with short, action-oriented sentences (e.g., 'Mac was lucky to escape
alive!'). …This engaging biography is also a solid overview of an era of
exploration that still captivates adventurous youths.
Horn Book Guide:
Cowan chronicles the life of MacMillan from his boyhood in New England to his
last Arctic voyage in the 1950’s. MacMillan’s major expeditions and scientific
studies are vividly described. The author’s use of her subject’s journals,
letters, and books adds detail and authenticity. MacMillan’s own photographs
enhance this well documented, sophisticated text.
Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center, Bowdoin College:
Mary Morton Cowan has brought Arctic explorer Donald B. MacMillan back to life
with this lively account of his adventurous career. … Meticulously researched,
this book tells a compelling and inspiring story.
Journal, Augusta, Maine:
CAPTAIN MAC is Mary Morton Cowan’s wonderful biography of Adm. Donald B.
MacMillan … it is a smartly written history of Arctic exploration, written with
a grown-up flavor featuring plenty of exciting Arctic adventures, plus history,
science, geology, meteorology, wildlife, and the debilitating effect of cold
weather, poor diet and prolonged isolation on humans. … Cowan … has done a
masterful job researching this subject, successfully combining crisp narrative
with anecdotal stories, all supplemented nicely with period photographs, maps
and illustrations. … This is terrific history well told, and adult readers will
enjoy it as much as young readers.