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Roald Amundsen was the greatest explorer of his time and, his biographer convincingly argues, possibly of any time. Best remembered as the discoverer of the South Pole, he was also the first person to study the magnetic North Pole, the first to sail the Northwest Passage, the first person to reach the North Pole, the first to use airplanes and airships in arctic exploration, and more. At times the most famous person in the world, the book uses Amundsen's fame as a venue for studying celebrity culture and the way celebrity itself becomes a career: book tours, paid speeches, taking tactical mutual advantage of the press, fundraising. "The Last Viking" also delves into the relationship between exploration and nationalism, and in discussing Amundsen's famous "race to the pole" with Scott (which wasn't a race at all), points out that Amundsen succeeded partly because of his admiration for and willingness to learn from native arctic cultures like the Inuit, while Scott, as an English gentleman, thought he could learn nothing from native peoples. Scott died in Antarctica because of his poor planning, but also, the author argues, because he carried the weight of the British Empire on his shoulders. Named by many organizations as one of the best books of 2012, “The Last Viking” is deeply researched, thoughtful, informative, entertaining, and often exciting. It is an outstanding biography.
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covers his life in a broad scope highlighting important events and details. if you want a more in depth on his discoveries the book references many other works you can read to get more information.
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