Book review–From Pole to Pole: Roald Amundsen’s Journey in Flight

As a small boy growing up in Europe, I idolized Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer famous for his heroic journeys to the North and South Poles. I read everything I could find about him and someday wanted to be an explorer like he. So, when I discovered a new book about Amundsen, I was anxious to read it and to relive my childhood dreams. I just completed the book, after many nights of agonizing over its pages.

On the positive side, I appreciate the author’s thorough research pertaining to technical aspects: aerodynamics, propulsion, aircraft and lighter-than-air craft specifications, etc. However, the book is terribly written. What could have been treated as a can’t-put-it-down adventure story is written like a technical report.

There’s no passion, no human interest. Most of all, there is no excuse for Cameron and his publisher not having had the book edited (if it was edited, shame on the editor!). On the average, every other page contains an error: a misspelling, a grammatical mistake… Moreover, the author seems to have an aversion to commas; time and again, their absence makes it necessary to go back and reread a sentence. Some paragraphs are more than a page long, another writer’s “no-no.” Perhaps the best part of the book is its cover: it’s very well done.

In the end, I’m still an admirer of Roald Amundsen, but I cannot  recommend this book to likeminded readers or those who are discovering him for the first time.

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