Roland Huntford has produced the first full-scale biography of Fridtjof Nansen. It's likely to be the definitive one for a long time to come. The book is thoroughly researched, extremely well written and, in the main, very convincing.
Huntford portrays Nansen as a moody, restless and "strangely unfulfilled" man. This image of our true Viking may come as a surprise, but the author makes it very credible by extensively quoting from correspondence and various diaries.
Unfortunately, Huntford is a little bit too fond of sweeping generalizations like "Norwegians are generally slow to anger and accustomed to isolation, ..." (page 206). His evident dislike of Russians in general, and Communists in particular, leads to a very unfavourable description of Nansen's work on, for instance, famine relief.
Nevertheless, this book is a major achievement. Highly recommended.
is the author of two best-selling polar biographies, "Shackleton" (1985) and "Scott and Amundsen" (1979), which was made into the acclaimed television series "The Last Place on Earth". He was the London Observer's Scandinavian correspondent and speaks fluent Norwegian.
Ronald Huntford, Nansen, London, Duckworth, 1997.
Ronald Huntford, Fridtjof Nansen, Mennesket bak myten, Oversatt og bearbeidet av Jan Christensen, Oslo, Aschehoug, 1996.