Philosophy for Polar Explorers

Erling Kagge, trans. from the Norwegian by Kenneth Steven. Pantheon, $20 (192p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4911-8
Explorer Kagge (Walking: One Step at a Time) reflects on the forces that drove him to become “the first [person] to reach the Earth’s three poles on foot” in this enjoyable adventure story. He discusses how his aspirations shifted from youthful fantasies of “being a fireman, a footballer, an astronaut, and a superhero all at once” to more realistic, but still extraordinary, ambitions. His ventures combined a lifelong attachment to the natural world with a desire to achieve milestones with minimal assistance: in 1990 he and a companion reached the North Pole without using snowmobiles, sled dogs, or supply depots; in 1993 he walked to the South Pole by himself, followed by a climb to the summit of Mount Everest the next year. Making such extreme experiences relatable to less daring audiences, Kagge admits that he found just getting up in the morning at the right time to be “a polar explorer’s greatest challenge,” and he describes raising three children as his “fourth pole.” His continued wonder at the world and openness to the unexpected make for a refreshingly optimistic perspective. This moving and sometimes amusing look at how one man fulfilled his aspirations will charm both armchair and real-life adventurers. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/14/2020
Release date: 12/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 173 pages - 978-1-901285-69-7
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