Winner Lose All

by Hugh Eames. Little, Brown, $8.95. Subtitle, Dr. Cook and the Theft of the North Pole. Mr. Eames believes that Cook, sledging around with a couple of Eskimos, really did get to the Pole, only to be cheated of the credit by a conspiracy of the wealthy backers of Robert Peary, who did not get to the Pole. Like other supporters of the beguiling doctor, Mr. Eames is defeated by the Danes. When Cook came out of the Arctic, he headed straight for Copenhagen where he was greeted with trust and public acclaim. It was to Copenhagen that he finally submitted his navigation data—reconstructed, since the original papers had been conveniently mislaid. A committee of Danish scholars examined the documents and announced that nothing in the material indicated that Cook had reached the Pole. Now if Cook was a fraud, he had made public boobs of the Danish press, a large portion of the scholarly community, and, since he had literally received royal entertainment, of the king. This was bad to worse to lèse-majesté and called for face-saving if possible. It remains incredible, despite Mr. Eames’s eloquent and often amusing defense, that the Danes would not have stood by Cook if they had found anything at all to stand on. Illustrations, notes, bibliography.