Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Anna Gertrude Hall’s Nansen is precisely what it portends to be—the biography of the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen. The lives of other persons, including the famous Admiral Robert E. Peary, intersect Nansen’s life, and those persons are briefly mentioned as they appear. Nevertheless, the story centers completely on Nansen. Even the other events that were occurring during his lifetime, such as the newly won independence of Norway as a nation, World War I, the terrible aftermath of the war, and the work of the League of Nations, are only mentioned insofar as they influenced Nansen. On the other hand, the country and cities of Norway, as well as the oceans that Norwegians have explored for centuries, are strongly drawn.

The book is divided into sections as they relate to the principal parts of Nansen’s life. “The Boy on Ski” is about Nansen’s athletic and energetic childhood, “The Man on Ski” is about his explorations of Greenland, and “Toward the North Pole” is about his attempts to reach the North Pole over the ice fields, accompanied by only one companion. The chapter entitled “Norway’s Nansen” describes how he became a renowned scientist, particularly in oceanography; “The Great Adventure” details his work with the League of Nations to release prisoners of war and to reset-tle refugees; and “The Hardest Journey” examines his efforts to feed starving populations.

Several black-and-white...

(The entire section is 489 words.)