Only a handful of the original members of Sir John Franklin's first Arctic expedition returned. John Richardson was one of them. His journal recounts their journey across the Barren Grounds, providing many details not found in Franklin's own 1823 narrative and raising questions about Franklin's ability as a leader. In addition to his achievements as a doctor, meteorologist, and cartographer, Richardson was the first great naturalist to study the North American Arctic. His journal made such an outstanding contribution to ornithology, ichthyology, botany, and geology that much of modern Arctic research is founded upon his observations.