Robert Peary and Frederick Cook
This chapter focuses on the controversy related to the discovery of North Pole by Arctic explorer Frederick Cook, whose rival explorer, Robert Peary, challenged the claim made by Cook and accused him of faking his polar trek. The issue of character dominated public discourse about Cook and Peary because both the explorers lacked other forms of reliable evidence that could resolve their dispute. The North Pole offered little in the way of unique objects or geography that could be used to confirm explorers' accounts, and nor did the testimony of Cook's and Peary's companions, most of whom were Eskimos and none of whom were white, do much to convince the largely white middle-class audiences who became absorbed with the controversy. As a result, the press and the public gave greater scrutiny to the ways in which Cook and Peary comported themselves at home, searching for truthfulness in their actions, temperament, and demeanor.
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