Ada Blackjack Johnson was born in Solomon, Alaska and raised by missionaries who taught her to read English. She married and gave birth to three children with her first husband, but only one survived past infancy.
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She and the first husband divorced after that. The divorce  left her destitute, and she temporarily placed her son in an orphanage.
Soon after, in , she joined an expedition across the Chukchi Sea to Russia's Wrangel Island led by Canadian Allan Crawford but financed, planned and encouraged by Vilhjalmur Stefansson. Stefansson considered those with advanced knowledge in the fields of geography and science for this expedition. Maurer had spent eight months in on the island after surviving the shipwreck of the Karluk.
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The conditions soon turned bad for the team. After rations ran out, the team was unable to kill enough game on the island to survive. By trapping foxes, hunting seals and dodging polar bears, Blackjack fights for her life and for the future of her ailing son, whom she left back home in Alaska, and for whose health-care expenses she agreed to take the trip.
When she returns home as the only survivor, the ignoble jockeying for her attention and money by the press, her rescuer and the disreputable mission chief who sat out the trip melds with the clamor of city life in Seattle and San Francisco , leaving both the reader and Blackjack near-nostalgic for the creaking ice floes and the slow rhythms of life in the northern frozen wastelands.
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Ada Blackjack : a true story of survival in the Arctic
Agent, John Ware. A radio interview campaign and national print ads should help her second book receive widespread attention. View Full Version of PW. The books they brought they read several times over. There was no electricity, no entertainment, the food was often sparse and not nutritious, and the possibility of getting anywhere on the island was extremely limited and dangerous.
ADA BLACKJACK: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic
The dogs, like the adventurers, became weak and tired. They were all often undernourished, and the men had constant aches and pains from dealing with the harsh climate. The second half of the book centers on Blackjack's mundane and poverty-stricken life back in "civilization" and the intricate politics behind the two Wrangel expeditions. Three of the young men's bodies from Ada's expedition were never found. While interesting in the context of the entire story, this second half pales in comparison with the harrowing day-to-day lives of the five adventurers on Wrangel Island.
After Ada returned to Alaska, she remarried twice, had one more son and once traveled as far south as Los Angeles. But her life was never this exciting again not that she wanted it to be and was never as comfortable as one might wish for such a heroine.
She died in relative obscurity. Niven writes, "In September , a diminutive twenty-five-year-old Eskimo woman named Ada Blackjack emerged as the heroic survivor of an ambitious polar expedition. In the annals of Arctic exploration, many men have been hailed as heroes, but a hero like Ada was unheard of at the time.
After Ada's triumphant return to civilization, the international press called her the female Robinson Crusoe. This is the first book about Blackjack although not the first book about this expedition.