December 01, 2012

My Great Uncle

I am of Norwegian and Suisse stock. My great uncle was Roald Amundsen, the Explorer and first man to reach the South Pole. His definitive biography was just published and a copy sent to me. I read it with great anticipation. Amundsen’s most fascinating trait was his ability to constantly reinvent himself as an explorer, devising new techniques for new goals.

Amundsen packed more travel, excitement, danger, tragedy, pathos and triumph into his fifty-six years than seems possible, even now. He led as successful a life as can be imagined, creating a record of sensational geographical feats that were front page news in their day and that will never be forgotten. He fulfilled all his youthful dreams and then died in a dramatic burst of publicity and mystery. He earned the title bestowed on him by the popular press – “the Last of the Vikings.” I wish I had known him.