The miscellanist Rob Kovitz in his new book Dead and Cold has assembled, coordinated or otherwise summoned into being the best, the most spellbinding and the most chilblain-inducing account of death in the Arctic that you will ever read. We had thought John Franklin to be done in as a Canadian subject, but here he is resuscitated, along with many more who perished in the ice. Kovitz excavates his text from a vast library of commentators, including Abacuk Pricket, who sent Henry Hudson and his son to their deaths; Thomas James, who wrote magically of his trials in the seventeenth century; and Jens Munk, who kept a detailed and horrifying account of his voyage in 1619 to the Northwest Passage that killed sixty-two of his sixty-five crew members; only he and two others made it back through Hudson Strait and across the Atlantic. The material explored in this volume ranges from obscure diaries to newspaper accounts, with many photographs, some of them gruesome. Its only flaw, in my opinion, is the undue presence of Margaret Atwood, whose remarks edge too often and often too vapidly into the panoply of comment; e.g., “He was simply a victim of landscape.” This is a book that calls out for rereading, a true national treasure, from Treyf Books (keep refrigerated), in Winnipeg. Kovitz’s work appears occasionally in the pages of Geist.