Rost attacks Cook
Since its first appearance, My Attainment of the Pole has been considered by most to be beneath criticism, so there was little attempt to analyze it.  The first attempt was that of Representative Henry Helgesen of North Dakota, who had published a number of speeches attacking Peary’s claim in the Congressional Record.  Actually, E.C. Rost, who had been working as Cook’s congressional lobbyist, had authored all of Helgesen’s speeches, but he had fallen out with the doctor because of long-overdue back wages.  Rost got even on September 4, 1916, when Helgesen announced that he would place in the Congressional Record yet another extension of remarks on the North Pole question. But this time the subject would not be Peary's credibility; it would be Cook's. Helgesen related how he had written to Cook asking whether he still considered the information contained in his book “the test of an explorer’s claims,” as he had said in its preface. Cook replied in the affirmative, and Rost took him up on it. In 28 pages of fine print, he closely analyzed Cook's book and pointed out numerous minor errors, discrepancies of dates, internal inconsistencies and contradictions.
    He compared it to statements by Cook’s backer, John R. Bradley, and those in the book published by his only white companion, Rudolph Franke, and found many more. Most telling were his analyses of other explorers’ narratives showing how Cook might have used them as a basis to embroider a fanciful story of his journey to the Pole and back.  Rost pointed out discrepancies in lunar phases, which apparently had been erroneously taken from an almanac for 1908 rather than 1907. He scrutinized Cook's photographs and disparaged the shadow data that Cook said convinced him he had reached the Pole. He derided Cook's lack of any observations for magnetic variation and the inadequacy of certain features of Cook's claimed ones for longitude and latitude. He theorized a rationale for all of Cook's “discoveries” along the way to the Pole, and he questioned Cook's veracity throughout, up to and including his accounts of the events at Annoatok upon his return, using the account in a book written by Harry Whitney, who had witnessed Cook’s return, as a comparison.
    Considering that Cook had had plenty of time, three serial accounts and three editions of his book to correct any unintentional errors, Rost had Helgesen sum up the evidence he gave: “After a careful, analytical reading of Cook's book, remembering that the material contained in this book has been revised by Cook six times . . . is it possible for anyone who gives this matter any thought or study at all to believe that Dr. Cook ever attained or remotely approached the North Pole?”
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