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The SS Newfoundland was a sealing ship involved in an event known as the " Newfoundland Sealing Disaster". 79 sealers from the ship died due to the extreme weather conditions on This event was the subject of the book Death on the Ice by Cassie Brown, and two National Film Board of Canada documentaries: "I.
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Sort order. Oct 02, Erin rated it it was amazing. A quick read about a specific event that sheds light on quite a bit of Newfoundland's labor, social, and cultural history. Cassie Brown provides enough information about how and why sealers do what they do, and under what conditions, for the lay person to follow along without boring us. Although this is nonfiction, it reads as a novel, and you'll feel the tension mounting every time someone makes a decision or assumption that you know will lead to the deaths of so many men.

The magnitude of what A quick read about a specific event that sheds light on quite a bit of Newfoundland's labor, social, and cultural history. The magnitude of what they suffered in a blizzard on the ice for two days and nights is astronomical; the greed and callousness of the men who own the sealing ships, even more so.

A great read about an important event that, unfortunately, did not lead to the reforms it should have. Sep 29, Mary-Esther Lee rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction , read-canadian. The worst disaster story I have ever read. This is not a reflection on the writing, which is actually pretty good. What makes the story so awful is the sealing industry at that time NOT perpetrated by the Inuit and the fact that the men would not have died if they hadn't been ordered off a ship at the start of a blizzard.

Feb 03, Diane rated it really liked it. I read this years ago as part of my high school curriculum. Even though all those years have passed I still remember the haunting story this book entails. Great read!

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View 1 comment. Apr 08, Tamara Templeman rated it it was amazing. I read this as part of my tenth grade English curriculum, and then went on to read it twice more on my own time. A haunting story that gives the reader a look into what Newfoundland life as a fishermen and their families was like during the trying times of Winter in our Province.

What they had to endure, why they did what they did, how they were treated, how their families felt, how they themselves felt. As well as a look into what Newfoundland history and culter is and was. It draws you in, you I read this as part of my tenth grade English curriculum, and then went on to read it twice more on my own time.

It draws you in, you experience it with them You feel the drive, you feel the sense of obligation, the need to provide, the longing, the pain, the betrayal, the bite of the cold, the sting of the wind, the confusion, the hopelessness, the suffering, and the loss. Whether you're familiar with the tragedy or not, but especially if you're an Islander.

Years have passed and so have generations Back home, in a small town in Bonovista Bay It's part of our history, and in a way The people of Newfoundland will never forget, and therefore never let those to come after them and us forget either. Cassie Brown helps us do that by allowing others to read and learn about it as well, whether they're from Newfoundland or otherwise.

Jan 30, Karyl rated it really liked it Shelves: interlibrary-loans , goodreads-suggestions , library-reads , survival-disaster , , non-fiction. In the late s and early s, sealing, the slaughter of baby harp seals for their pelts and their fat, was a way of life for Newfoundlanders. Always in debt to their employers, for the men never made enough each season to come in the clear financially, the sealers nevertheless enjoyed going to the ice each spring in hopes that they would finally strike the seal equivalent of the mother lode.

But in , instead of riches and wealth, the poorly dressed, poorly equipped, poorly fed sealers In the late s and early s, sealing, the slaughter of baby harp seals for their pelts and their fat, was a way of life for Newfoundlanders. But in , instead of riches and wealth, the poorly dressed, poorly equipped, poorly fed sealers usually subsisted on nothing more than hard tack and tea during a run men of the Newfoundland found themselves abandoned on the ice just before a massive spring storm hit.

Each ship in the area assumed the men had made it safely to another ship, and due to the lack of a wireless set on the Newfoundland , there was no way to confirm that the men had made it back. Instead, one hundred and thirty-two men were left to wander among pans of ice in freezing temperatures with gale force winds and driving snow and rain.


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Some fell in to the water between the ice floes. Shelters were erected but could not protect the men sufficiently. Two-thirds of the men on the ice died during the two days and two nights they spent on the ice. Had the Newfoundland still had her wireless it had been removed as unprofitable the year before , the deaths would have been averted.

This is a chilling account of how greed and wealth can lead to easily avoided human tragedy and disaster. Jul 16, Wendy rated it really liked it. Death on the Ice, was recommended to us by someone we met in Newfoundland It is a remarkable story about a remarkable group of men sealers who found themselves in a horrible storm It was a terrible tragedy of lives, dignity and certainly had a huge impact on what was, a significant industry in Newfoundland in the early 's. Death on the Ice brings the Death on the Ice, was recommended to us by someone we met in Newfoundland Death on the Ice brings the story of how the ship captains demanded much of their men, and the ships themselves were filled with inequities depending on the rank and experience of the captains.

It certainly shows the reality of the wealthy captains and the poor fishermen who took to the sealing ships to make some extra money for their families. I think the book shows the strength, compassion and family devotion of many Newfoundlanders I'd definitely recommend this book May 31, Michael rated it really liked it. I never wish death on anyone. Being as I have huge soft spot for animals, this book had me torn. Feeling sorry for men butchering baby animals for money is not easy for me. Kind of a you get what you give person.

But personal feelings aside, it is a darn good book.

Written well and the content is exactly what it claims to be on the cover. I did feel bad for these men Jun 27, Elsabe rated it it was amazing. Incredibly haunting look into history. Sep 25, Jessie rated it liked it Shelves: books-read-together-with-scott , newfoundland.

Death On The Ice: The Great Newfoundland Sealing Disaster Of by Cassie Brown

This book is based on historical events which the author researched in order to create a story of what happened. It reads like a novel, but it is history. I have been starved for reading lately, and I finally decided that I could allow myself some time to read. This book is about the country I'm living in right now. It was a terrible tragedy that happened in Their usual pay was about 30 dollars. Thei This book is based on historical events which the author researched in order to create a story of what happened.

Their lives were so tied to fishing and the company store that they never got ahead and the chance to make some money was very enticing for many. For me that fact was very sad. They lived on hard tack- which is a biscuit that is as hard as a rock and tea for three weeks. They even slept on top of the seal pelts when the hold got full. They trusted their captains and never questioned orders or dared to talk back.

A series of errors and the lack of a radio- caused about 80 men to die because they were left on the ice for two days and two nights during a terrible storm. This book tells the story with all the details from the court records. It was truly sad as she told how a father put his arms around his sons and they froze to death. Others froze while kneeling to pray. Some just laid down and died.

It was chilling and tragic. The worst part is that the only good to come from it was that ships were required to have a radio. So many died.

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There was a movie made about this topic called "The Viking. They jump across the different ice pans while the ice rolls and waves up and down without hesitation. Very scary. It was so dangerous. It is also sad because they killed thousands of baby seals. I guess it's good to learn history- but maybe it's a part of history I would rather not have dream about in my nightmares. At the end of the book the author adds that it was many factors: If Captain Kean had known where he was, If George Tuff had spoken up and said No we want to come aboard for the night.

If Joe Kean had followed his inclination to go looking for the men. If Tuff had stopped the men when they reached the Stephano's flag, and built shelter there.


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  7. If they had struck towards the Stephano. If the Newfoundland had been equipped with wireless. If Wes Kean had kept his whistle blowing that night. If Abram Kean had been even half as concerned about the men's danger as his son. If any one of those things had been so, then most of the Newfoundland's sealers would not have died.

    Sep 18, Shirley Schwartz rated it it was amazing Shelves: , non-fiction , mystar-reads , canada-reads. Cassie Brown's book about the actual events that occurred on the North Atlantic ice of the Newfoundland sealing disaster is very clear and so well written, that I feel I got to know these sealers. Although it is a true story of what actually happened to the sealers from the ship Newfoundland when they spent two days on the ice in the North Atlantic in a terrible blizzard in , it reads like a novel.

    Lousy professor and demonstrated his Leftist leanings for the entire lecture. UAF hire.

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    Go figure. Any info on lead poisoning from canned goods? As to cultural differences… are we to assume these British fellows were more open to indigenous knowledge than Mr. Scott was in Antarctica? By indigenous I mean Norwegian. Scott shunned dogs in favor of ponies.