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The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen by Stephen Bown

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The Organic View

The Organic View


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Touted as the “last living Viking,” Roald Amundsen accomplished in two decades what other explorers of his day couldn’t do in a lifetime: He became the first person to reach the four great geographical mysteries of the world—the Northwest Passage, the Northeast Passage, the North Pole, and the South Pole. His accomplishments made him loved by some, hated by others—but his brilliance and technical skill made him respected by all.

The world’s foremost explorer, Amundsen was a man of contradiction. His unmatched skill at navigating the uncharted territories of the world would make him a living legend, but his propensity for borrowing money that he couldn’t pay back made him a wanted man by creditors.

The first full-scale biography of this greatest of all polar explorers, Stephen Bown’s The Last Viking tells the story of an intensely private man who was a firm and visionary leader—a man who led a full and intriguing life, complete with sordid affairs, family quarrels, and financial woes; a man who dedicated his life to exploring the corners of the world, and ultimately gave his life during a mission to rescue a rival explorer.

Tune in to this segment of The Organic View Radio Show as June Stoyer talks to Stephen Bown who is also the author of Scurvy and other works that have been selected by the Scientific American Book Club and the History Club. The Globe and Mail has called him “Canada’s Simon Winchester.” He lives near Banff in the Canadian Rockies.