Voyages of a Modern Viking.

For someone who participated in Amundsen’s three major expeditions, went to the South Pole with him in 1910, and was captain of Maud on the later Northeast Passage expedition, Hanssen sounds generally as boring as extreme weather reports, at least in this version. There is no indication of a translator, nor any indication that Hanssen and Amundsen may have had a falling out on the 1918-1920 Northeast Passage trip. So the Fram Museum suggests on its website, citing the journals of other participants as claiming Amundsen fired Hanssen because the designation of Hanssen as captain went to his head. If so, even that excitement is concealed in this book.

p. 133-34: The winter passed without anything much happening. Amundsen’s arm healed. Sverdrup started a newspaper, the Taimyr Post, but it did not run to many editions, as the ink froze on the types. Nor were there many advertisers, and such subscribers, as came from time to time to have their curiosity satisfied, the bears, were shot before they could enter the office. The conditions under which a newspaper enterprise should flourish were lacking here, although the editor was eminently qualified. A man who knew everything, a happy mind, and very solicitous for the welfare of his readers. It was a monotonous over-wintering.

p. 146: Such a journey by sled may be monotonous to read about, but it is anything but that for the one who has to do the driving. When your sled tips over 10 times in one day; when the tip of your nose is white from frost; when you do not know whether you are driving on land or sea; when you lie at nights hoping the ground will not crack open, you can’t suffer from boredom. And in midwinter there may be days of good weather, when the Aurora Borealis shines so strongly that it excites like moonlight. No, feelings other than “ennui” grip a dog-driver on a winter’s day in unknown territory in Siberia.