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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enthralling Read
Stephen Bown is a descriptive writer who draws you into the subject matter of his books. 'The Last Viking' for me is a superb read as I knew little about Roald Amundsen and more about Scott and this story, set in opening of the 20th Cent outlines the adventure and hardships endured by Amundsen and his team on various Artic (North Pole and Great Northwest Passage)and...
Published on 24 Oct. 2012 by EC Birbeck

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A true legend
Amundsen's story is truly inspiring. His success - a result of planning, Nordic efficiency, great management, and sheer grit- a fascinating contrast to the glorious polar failures of Edwardian England.

I had high hopes about this biography of the great polar explorer, but I do feel the book lacked depth, especially compared to Roland Huntford's...
Published 20 months ago by Andrew Duguid


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enthralling Read, 24 Oct. 2012
By 
EC Birbeck (UK) - See all my reviews
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Stephen Bown is a descriptive writer who draws you into the subject matter of his books. 'The Last Viking' for me is a superb read as I knew little about Roald Amundsen and more about Scott and this story, set in opening of the 20th Cent outlines the adventure and hardships endured by Amundsen and his team on various Artic (North Pole and Great Northwest Passage)and Antarctic expedition(s)(to the South Pole). For those who read in bed grab the duvet, snuggle down and travel to the frozen wastes with Stephen Bown as your guide - amazing!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hero of his times, 13 April 2013
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This review is from: The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen, Conqueror of the South Pole (Kindle Edition)
If you ever wondered why Amundsen got to the South Pole first then read this book. His birth in country of snow and ice and learning the means to travel over it, made the race for the Pole a forgone conclusion. As much as one admires Scott for his determination and bravery he was never going to win that race. Amundsen also discovered the North west passage and flew over the North Pole. He died as he lived in the Polar region. The well told story of a man who is an enigma to many, and sadly seen by some as underhand, simply because he arrived at the Pole before Scott. Naive in many of his dealings, he should be remembered as a man of courage and this book is adequate testimony.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, 29 Jan. 2013
By 
Captain Pike (Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen, Conqueror of the South Pole (Kindle Edition)
There are two types of biographies: those that try to write a comprehensive, 'definitive' history of the subject and those that simply aim to tell a story, capturing the essence of a person. This biography is in the second category and is probably all the better for it. If you like your biographies to be at least 900 pages and know exactly what so-and-so was doing on the 19th November in 1919, this book might frustrate you, but if you want a compelling narrative that eschews superfluous details, this account is highly recommended.

In 'The Last Viking', the author has successfully curated a wealth of research to produce a narrative that is never anything other than gripping, rationing the details of Amundsen's early years in favour of concentrating on the most interesting part of his life. Above all, he asks why Amundsen was so successful compared to rivals like Scott.

This book is perfect for the casual reader who is interested in polar exploration - the descriptions of Amundsen's missions vivdly recreate the hostile environements he encountered. It is a cliche to say that I couldn't put it down, but it's true. This is a very enjoyable book about an extraordinary man who has, in Great Britain at least, never received the credit he deserved for his extraodinary leadership skills.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A true legend, 15 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen, Conqueror of the South Pole (Kindle Edition)
Amundsen's story is truly inspiring. His success - a result of planning, Nordic efficiency, great management, and sheer grit- a fascinating contrast to the glorious polar failures of Edwardian England.

I had high hopes about this biography of the great polar explorer, but I do feel the book lacked depth, especially compared to Roland Huntford's "Shackleton" and Wade Davis' amazing "Into The Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest".

Worth a read all the same, to learn more about the master of the snow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book, 10 April 2013
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This review is from: The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen, Conqueror of the South Pole (Kindle Edition)
Interesting book (mostly) about Amundsen and the importance of the new Norway in polar exploration. Good to read the balance to the Scott/Amundsen debate.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read that conjures the rasp of hickory ski on thin ice, 2 May 2013
By 
GB (Rural England) - See all my reviews
I can but echo Sarah Wheeler great review in The Wall Street Journal.

"Mr. Bown has produced a solid, entertaining account of Amundsen's adventures, through which he scrolls with pleasing attention to detail. This is a real 'Boy's Own' narrative, one that conjures the rasp of hickory ski on thin ice, the patter of a hundred dogs, and the whiff of tobacco after a long day on the trail. Mr. Bown is especially good on historical context
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Man, 7 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen, Conqueror of the South Pole (Kindle Edition)
I remember at school how Roald A was relegated to 2nd position behind Scott. Grossly unfair for the man who meticulously planned his conquest, was humble in learning from all people, got to and returned from the South Pole without seemingly taking unnecessary risks with the lives of his men! First place every time for me!
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5.0 out of 5 stars History in the making, 19 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen, Conqueror of the South Pole (Kindle Edition)
A good read, showing a great mans life and an insight into others who fought to conquer the elements with little concern for their own safety and show success in national pride.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book that takes you places, 5 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen, Conqueror of the South Pole (Kindle Edition)
This has been one of the best Christmas pressies that I received. I know very little about Amundsen and have wanted to read more about his life for some time. The author writes giving just the perfect amount of information and story to take you along at a fast pace leaving you ready to read more about this man's amazing life. It is clear there could be more to write but this would take you into a more detailed study of his life and result in the book being too heavy for most. I always like books that get you thinking and extend your thoughts beyond putting the book down at the end of the day and this one certainly does. I would definitely recommend this book - the dilemma is do I read more on Amundsen or find another book by the same author.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Decent and workaday, 1 July 2013
By 
Margaret Swift "M Swift" (Greater London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen, Conqueror of the South Pole (Kindle Edition)
Prett thorough if unexciting coverage of Amundsen's life and work. I would have liked a bit more about the Arctic explorations which isns't covered very well in other books. Nothing really new but a solid biography on the whole.
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