This is a workmanlike biography of a ship, Fridthof Nansen’s Fram, and its major voyages: Nansen’s attempt to drift to the North Pole in 1893-96; Otto Sverdrup’s journey to Ellesmere Land and Alex Heiberg Island, 1898-1902; and Amundsen’s Expedition to the South Pole in 1911-12. It is a good retelling of the major adventures of these three motivated if depressing explorers, though there is little new here and some mistakes and questionable emphases. Although the ship is well-known for its well-stocked library, and that is recognized here, there is little about what was in the library, only some general comments about books in certain fields such as botany and other sciences, and a reading from Corinthians for a burial at sea.
p. 33, picture of Sverdrup reading.
p. 38 caption: Bernhard Nordahl…loved to read and write stories and poems. Like Nansen and Johansen, he wrote a book about the voyage. [The books on the first Fram voyage were Nansen’s Farthest North (1897), Hjalmar Johansen’s With Nansen in the North (1899), and Nordahl’s In Nacht und Eis: die norwegische Polarexpedition 1893-1896. Leipzig: 1913.
p 61: The hours after supper were another social opportunity for some, smoking and conversing in the galley, reading in the saloon from the well-stocked library, or later playing cards or making music there. For others, it was a chance to retreat to the comfort of their own bunks, for relaxation, reflection, or writing in their diaries or simply to be alone for awhile.
p. 170, re botanist Herman Georg Simmons and his move aft so that: the poor lone scientist would have more companionship than just his books and herbarium of pressed dried plants.
p. 197: Edward Bay finished a novel he had been working on (nothing like four winters in the Arctic to provide time to write!) and "published" it for Christmas reading by his captive audience.
p. 257, Cherry-Gerrard writing about the burial at the Scott tent: I do not know how long we were there, but when all was finished, and the chapter on Corinthians had been read, it was midnight of some day. The sun was dipping low above the Pole, the Barrier was almost in shadow. And the sky was blazing–sheets and sheets of iridescent clouds. The cairn and cross stood dark against a glory of burnished gold.