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The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen

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  • Posted January 31, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    I've enjoyed some classics in this genre such as Endurance: Shac

    I've enjoyed some classics in this genre such as Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage and Arctic Adventure: My Life in the Frozen North (which is a lessor known but great account of life in the Arctic). So I was interested in The Last Viking. The Last Viking is a well-crafted work on both the life and achievements of Roald Amundsen, one of history's greatest explorers. Among Amundsen's headline accomplishments were that he was the first European to sail the Northwest Passage, the first person to see the North Pole, and the first human to reach the South Pole. The Norwegian press called him "The Last Viking."

    While author Stephen R. Bown is clearly taken with Amundsen's life and heroics, he doesn't shy away from showing us his warts too. Bown gives us a 21st century look at Amundsen, a man characterized by intense determination and passion, but with a stubbornness and inability to express feelings that could be infuriating; a man who was capable of great charm, but also great arrogance.

    But when it came to exploration, Amundsen had the humility to learn from the Intuit who, unlike most Europeans of his day, he considered his cultural equal. Bown does a fine job chronicling the details and historical context of Amundsen's adventures. Through these details, we get entertaining accounts of the travels and travails of the Last Viking. Armchair explorers will be pleased as there is plenty of good adventure, such as plane crashes and maulings by polar bears.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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