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The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen

by

The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Last Viking unravels the life of the man who stands head and shoulders above all those who raced to map the last corners of the world. In 1900, the four great geographical mysteries—the Northwest Passage, the Northeast Passage, the South Pole, and the North Pole—remained blank spots on the globe. Within twenty years Roald Amundsen would claim all four prizes. Renowned for his determination and technical skills, both feared and beloved by his men, Amundsen is a legend of the heroic age of exploration, which shortly thereafter would be tamed by technology, commerce, and publicity. Féted in his lifetime as an international celebrity, pursued by women and creditors, he died in the Arctic on a rescue mission for an inept rival explorer.

Stephen R. Bown has unearthed archival material to give Amundsens life the grim immediacy of Apsley Cherry-Garrards The Worst Journey in the World, the exciting detail of The Endurance, and the suspense of a Jon Krakauer tale. The Last Viking is both a thrilling literary biography and a cracking good story.

Review:

"The discoverer of the South Pole and the first explorer to reach the North Pole, Amundsen's exploits entertained the world for decades during the early 20th century. But today he is arguably less well-known than his contemporary Ernest Shackleton, a situation that Bown aims to rectify with this captivating account of the Norwegian's extraordinary life. Amundsen's drive to witness the undiscovered began in childhood, when he would sleep with the windows open to acclimate to the cold and ski during snowstorms through the hills and mountains near Oslo to prepare for future harsh unknowns. He dropped out of university to acquire sailing experience and ultimately become a sea captain, enabling him to command his own ship. Amundsen treated his first expedition, the crossing of the Northwest Passage, like a military operation, an approach he'd employ in all of his adventures, anticipating nearly every possible complication or mishap. This painstaking method allowed him to prevail time and again — whether that involved keeping his crew alive while wintering for two years in the Arctic ice or beating better-financed competitors. Years later, he again surmounted huge obstacles, securing critical financing for a nearly aborted North Pole expedition and overcoming near bankruptcy, press hostility, and family feuding. Bown makes a compelling case that Amundsen deserves renewed recognition for his outstanding achievements. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

The first full-scale biography of the greatest of all polar explorers and a conqueror of the Northwest Passage as well

About the Author

Stephen R. Bown is the author ofScurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner and A Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail, selected as one of the Globe and Mails Top 100 books of 2004, and A Most Damnable Invention: Dynamite, Nitrates and the Making of the Modern World, selected for the Scientific American Book Club, the History Book Club and the Quality Paperback Book Club. He lives with his wife and two young children near Banff in the Canadian Rockies.

www.stephenrbown.net

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Last of the Vikings - 5

PART ONE: West

Chapter One: The Boy from the Mountain Kingdom - 21

Chapter Two: Polar Apprentice - 43

Chapter Three: An Extraordinary Plan - 64

Chapter Four: Where Franklin Died - 84

Chapter Five: An Education at Gjoa Haven – 102

PART TWO: South

Chapter Six: “I Resolved Upon a Coup” - 127

Chapter Seven: The Napoleon of the Poles - 152

Chapter Eight: Dogs and Skis - 176

Chapter Nine: A Featureless Expanse of Snow - 193

PART THREE: East

Chapter Ten: A Hero Returns - 217

Chapter Eleven: A New Battlefield - 235

Chapter Twelve: The Frozen Reaches of Tartary - 254

PART FOUR: North

Chapter Thirteen: Grounded Dreams - 274

Chapter Fourteen: The Arctic Phoenix - 299

Chapter Fifteen: The Dirigible and the Fascist – 319

Chapter Sixteen: A Massed Attack on the Polar Regions - 339

PART FIVE: Lost

Chapter Seventeen: No More Poles to Conquer - 361

Epilogue: The End of the Heroic Age - 382

Product Details

ISBN:
9780306820670
Author:
Bown, Stephen
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Author:
Bown Stephen
Author:
Bown, Stephen R.
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Series:
A Merloyd Lawrence Book
Publication Date:
20120931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 pages of b/w photos
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Featured Titles » Biography
History and Social Science » Arctic and Antarctic » General
History and Social Science » Geography » Reference
History and Social Science » World History » General
Travel » Travel Writing » Antarctica General
Travel » Travel Writing » Arctic and Antarctic

The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen Used Hardcover
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Product details 400 pages Da Capo Press - English 9780306820670 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The discoverer of the South Pole and the first explorer to reach the North Pole, Amundsen's exploits entertained the world for decades during the early 20th century. But today he is arguably less well-known than his contemporary Ernest Shackleton, a situation that Bown aims to rectify with this captivating account of the Norwegian's extraordinary life. Amundsen's drive to witness the undiscovered began in childhood, when he would sleep with the windows open to acclimate to the cold and ski during snowstorms through the hills and mountains near Oslo to prepare for future harsh unknowns. He dropped out of university to acquire sailing experience and ultimately become a sea captain, enabling him to command his own ship. Amundsen treated his first expedition, the crossing of the Northwest Passage, like a military operation, an approach he'd employ in all of his adventures, anticipating nearly every possible complication or mishap. This painstaking method allowed him to prevail time and again — whether that involved keeping his crew alive while wintering for two years in the Arctic ice or beating better-financed competitors. Years later, he again surmounted huge obstacles, securing critical financing for a nearly aborted North Pole expedition and overcoming near bankruptcy, press hostility, and family feuding. Bown makes a compelling case that Amundsen deserves renewed recognition for his outstanding achievements. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,

The first full-scale biography of the greatest of all polar explorers and a conqueror of the Northwest Passage as well

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