Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Last Viking is Amundsen, Roald Amundsen


Amundsen


I once wrote a review (of Pierre Berton's Arctic Grail, so this is a LONG time ago) in which I argued that one of the difficulties in writing about Arctic explorers is that all the Scandinavians were the same guy.  

Well I must have that conceit deep in my psyche, because in my recent note about Stephen Bown's biography about Roald Amundsen,The Last Viking, I managed to say it was a book about Viljhalmur Stefansson.

Totally different guys, different careers. They may have had the same tailor, but I should still know the difference. Stephen Bown's book is about Amundsen, the guy who beat Scott to the South Pole, who may have been the first actually to get to the North Pole, who did the Northwest Passage in the ship Gjoa, and died trying to rescue some other Arctic explorers.
The other guy