White Eskimo

Knud Rasmussen's Fearless Journey into the Heart of the Arctic

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Regular Price $27.99

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On Sale

Nov 10, 2015

Page Count

384 Pages




Among the explorers made famous for revealing hitherto impenetrable cultures-T. E. Lawrence and Wilfred Thesiger in the Middle East, Richard Burton in Africa-Knud Rasmussen stands out not only for his physical bravery but also for the beauty of his writing. Part Danish, part Inuit, Rasmussen made a courageous three-year journey by dog sled from Greenland to Alaska to reveal the common origins of all circumpolar peoples. Lovers of Arctic adventure, exotic cultures, and timeless legend will relish this gripping tale by Stephen R. Bown, known as “Canada’s Simon Winchester.”

What's Inside

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Owen Sound Sun Times, 12/5/15
“Bown is one of [Canada's] favourite popular historians…This is an insightful biography filled with the stuff of the Arctic; dog sleds, Inuit hunters, compelling expeditions.”

Arctic Journal, Fall 2015
“Bown provides a masterfully condensed version of the formative years of Knud's life in a coherent sequence of events, each as important as the next…The author convincingly identifies the major forces that shaped Knud's future…Highly recommend[ed] for anyone interested in the transitional days of Arctic exploration, adventure, and Bown's keen insight into the life events that shaped Dr. Knud Rasmussen into the extraordinary person he became.”

Nature, 12/17/15
“[A] masterful biography.”

Manhattan Book Review, 12/5/15
“A riveting read about a polar hero.”

Midwest Book Review, December 2015
“[A] fascinating true-life story of a dedicated explorer who contributed enormously to human knowledge and understanding…Highly recommended, especially for public and college library biography collections.”

CBC News, 12/13/15, “Top 10 Fiction and Non-fiction Books”
“Bown does [a] fabulous job.”
Praise for White Eskimo

Booklist, 9/15/15
“Rasmussen [is] one of the twentieth century's greatest explorers…Bown has done an excellent job of bringing Rasmussen to life—another first-rate entry from this accomplished writer.”

Library Journal, 9/15/15
“A thorough and engaging biography…Bown makes excellent use of Rasmussen's expedition publications…Readers of Arctic cultures and exploration should clamor for this joyous celebration of Rasmussen's life.”

Foreword, Winter 2015
“Succeeds both as a well-researched account and a loving, humanizing portrait of this uniquely gifted writer and pioneer…Bown's enthusiasm for his subject is infectious, and his research efforts are truly impressive…Those enthralled by tales of Polar expeditions will find much to celebrate in this lucidly written and well-paced biography.”

Discover, December 2015
“Not as famous as Shackleton or Nansen, Inuit-Danish Rasmussen was arguably even more intrepid, traveling by dog sled from Greenland to Alaska in the 1920s. Bown captures both his charisma and soulful side in a biography full of wonder and peril.”
Shelf Awareness, 11/6/15
“Bown takes readers into the frozen landscape of Greenland…[An] informative and entertaining biography…Vivid and detailed…A well-rounded portrait of the explorer and his life.”

InfoDad blog, 11/5/15
“A book…for those who remain fascinated by the age of polar exploration, and those interested in the long history of the Eskimo/Inuit people and their means of surviving, even thriving, in some of the most unforgiving territory in the world. White Eskimo is certainly the story of a life well-lived, an influential one that contributed greatly to an understanding of Eskimo/Inuit customs and thinking.”

San Diego Book Review 11/12/15
“This is a book of one of the last heroic explorers of the earth, full of poems, songs and stories of the far north. Rasmussen often seems larger than life yet is very approachable. The author evokes a marvelous sense of wonder at the man, his time and his life.”

The Bookworm Sez, 11/10/15
“[A] great story to give.”

A Denver Post “Best Nonfiction Book of 2015,” 11/27/15

Calgary Herald, 12/5/15
“[Bown] does not produce dry, academic tomes. His historical figures have a taste for adventure and tend to embark on epic odysseys with all-or-nothing abandon.”
Sacramento Bee, 12/21/15
“[A] remarkable story of an explorer who is credited as being the ‘father of Eskimo-ology.'”

Wall Street Journal, 1/8/16
“Is Knud Rasmussen the most remarkable polar explorer that few people have ever heard of? In White Eskimo: Knud Rasmussen's Fearless Journey Into the Heart of the Arctic, Stephen R. Bown makes a good case that he is…White Eskimo—the first English-language biography of Knud Rasmussen—offers much pleasure. Mr. Bown's prose is clear and lively, and while he clearly believes that Rasmussen was an extraordinary man, he doesn't dodge Rasmussen's flaws.”

Princeton Packet, 2/18/16
“A remarkable portrait of one of the least known, but at the same time one of the most significant of the Arctic explorers…Thoroughly researched and reads like the adventure story that it describes.”

Hakai Magazine, April 2016
“[A] fine biography…Nicely structured in four parts, the book is well written, well researched, and insightful.”

Internet Review of Books, 4/11/16
“Vivid detail…A well written biography of a truly interesting explorer and personality.”
"Rasmussen's is an incredible and inspiring life...Impeccable research."
Curled Up with a Good Book

"Bown makes the case for Knud Rasmussen's inclusion in the general lexicon of household-name explorers...Though still remembered in his homelands and Canada, he never quite achieved Shackleton-level notoriety. In Bown's capable hands, he might."

Alaska History
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