Vilhjalmur Stefansson: Arctic Adventurer

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Dundurn, Mar 9, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 216 pages

Born in Manitoba of Icelandic parents, Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879-1962) became one of Canada’s most famous and controversial Arctic explorers. After graduate studies in anthropology at Harvard University, Stefansson lived with and studied Inuit in the Mackenzie River Delta in the Northwest Territories in the winter of 1906-07. In two subsequent expeditions he completed a major anthropological survey of the Central and Western Arctic coasts and islands of North America; located and lived with the Copper Inuit, a previously unknown group of aboriginal people; and discovered the world’s last major land masses.

During his third and final great Arctic expedition from 1913 to 1918, some of Stefansson’s men perished tragically, an outcome that severely damaged his reputation. Nevertheless, the hardy explorer contributed immensely to knowledge about the Far North, particularly in his championing of the "Friendly Arctic." Part scientist, part showman, Vilhjalmur Stefansson was truly unique among polar adventurers.

 

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Contents

Preface
13
A First Glimpse of Stef
17
Childhood Youth and College Days
31
First Trip to the North 19061907
37
Meeting the White Eskimos
47
Five Years in the North
57
Man of the World
79
Reindeer Wrangel Island Again and the Last of Canada
87
Trials of a Different Order
109
An Explorers Passion
117
Stefansson as Explorer
123
Stefansson and the North
139
Ice Follies Dialogues in Limbo
163
Chronology of Vilhjalmur Stefansson
181
Sources Consulted
199
Index
209

Marriage and a Matter of Diet
101

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About the author (2009)

Tom Henighan is the author of several novels for young people, including Viking Quest, Viking Terror (nominated for the Ottawa Book Award), Mercury Man (nominated for the Red Maple Award), and Demon in My View. In 2008 he was honoured with the Victor Tolgesy Arts Award for his contributions to culture in Ottawa, where he lives.

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