Nonetheless, Cook always maintained that the proof of his claim lay in the
narrative content of My Attainment of the Pole. In 1917, an early analyst, Thomas Hall,
found Cook's narrative consistent and pronounced it "unimpeachable."
But much of it has since been impeached by the knowledge of the central Arctic
Ocean basin accumulated since Cook wrote his book, and by some of the inconsistencies
pointed out in the Helgesen-Rost analysis that have been shown to be very
significant with the opening of Cook’s papers in 1990. For instance,
Rost’s theory that Cook set back his departure date one week from the date
he actually started toward the Pole (probably to improve the plausibility
of his narrative’s timetable) is strongly supported by the content of his
But unlike Peary's, most of the defenses of Cook's claim
do center on his polar narrative. Its defenders contend that it describes
physical features that only a person who had actually made the journey could
have known about, since no one had ever been there before. Therefore, they
argue that Cook had observed these things first hand and must have at least
reached the near vicinity of the Pole.