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Arctic Sun on My Path: The True Story of America's Last Great Polar Explorer
Synopses & Reviews
As a boy in Oslo, Brooklyn-born Willie Knutsen dreamed of great ships navigating among massive icebergs, sled dogs straining eagerly against their leather harnesses, and the cold arctic sun glinting on vast stretches of inhospitable icy terrain. His dream was to one day become an arctic explorer - a polar man!
In 1936, at the age of twenty-four, Willie set off on an arctic journey that began during the era of wooden ships and crude dogsleds, and ended during the atomic age of nuclear-powered submarines gliding beneath the polar ice. Throughout those years, Willie lived according to his motto: "If you make plans and stick to them, the sun will always be on your path."
Willie's life story is filled with adventure. In 1940, a harrowing escape from Nazi-occupied Norway led him first to Greenland, then to America aboard an American coast guard icebreaker. The head of the U.S. Air Force personally invited Willie to join the search and
rescue operations for the infamous "Crimson Route," the World War II flight path from the United States to Europe via Labrador. When the Cold War was in full swing, the military asked Willie to participate in top-secret missions that included commanding "T-3," an ice island the size of Manhattan that floated around the Arctic Ocean.
Over a period of five years, Willie's son, Will, listened as his famous father recounted the numerous exploits of his younger years. Arctic Sun on My Path is the fruit of that collaboration. The book comes to life with vivid scenes and intimate insights into other arctic figures, many of them famous, such as Sir Ernest Shackleton; Vilhjalmur Stefansson; Peter Freuchen; Sir Hubert Wilkins; and Bernt Balchen, the first man to fly over the South Pole. Filled with suspense, humor, political intrigue, and human foibles, this is a story of mankind's search to understand the unknown, and of one man's realization of his childhood dream.
Book News Annotation:
Willie Knutson spent his childhood in Norway listening to the call of the Arctic, reading and thinking constantly about becoming an explorer in the proud tradition of his countrymen. By the time he grew up and got his chance at the great white north it was already 1936; a lot of exploring had already been done, but exploration technology still consisted primarily of awkward things carved from wood. Willie had the advantage of all those years of planning his life near the Pole, and until he escaped Nazism he lived on the ice. Then he became one of the Frozen Chosen for the American Coast Guard, an adventure that led to many others across a long life spanning over nine decades. Here Knutson recounts it all to his son with a humility and quiet humor that probably explains why he stayed alive and warm in the coldest place on earth.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The life story of Willie Knutsen, Americas last great polar explorer, as told to his son, Will C. Knutsen.
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About the Author
Willie Knutsen, born in Brooklyn in 1912, is known as America’s last great polar explorer. For over three decades he worked for the United States military and other private interests, exploring and researching the Arctic regions from Greenland to Alaska. He was a member of the Explorers Club and published two articles in National Geographic. He died in Norway in 1992.
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