Book Review; Heart of the Hero: The Remarkable Women Who Inspired the Great Polar Explorers

There´s no doubt in my case that it was books which made me choose this odd life and I really need to be surrounded by books to feel really content with life. For this reason I have written two articles about books I recommend:

1. 10 best books about adventure and travel to read over Christmas

2. 5 most complete travel books ever

Lately I have been given a lot of opportunities to review other people´s books and I have said no, because the books were just not interesting enough. I don´t want to waste my time reading nonsense. However, this last month I have received two really good books, so I have decided to do just that, starting as of August 2011 to review interesting and challenging books.  (So, please, if you have a book you want reviewed, please send it to me.)

Heart of the Hero: The Remarkable Women Who Inspired the Great Polar Explorers


Kari Herbert



Believe me if I say I am rather upset at this precise moment, because I spent parts of the past night reading this important, entertaining and insightful book written by Kari Herbert. And since I put it down on the floor, switched off the lights and slept a few hours, somebody have either stolen it or hidden it. I have a feeling it is my daughters who woke up quite early, roam around the room and somehow they managed to hide it and even though I have spent a long time looking for it, I can´t find it! And I am upset, because I hadn´t read the final part and I really enjoy every page of this needed book!

Let me first tell you a bit about the book. It is written by Kari Herbert, who´s father Wally Herbert, was a famous British Polar Explorer of the old kind. The one´s who didn´t utilize neither a GPS or a sat phone to call mum. Kari and her mother Marie, herself an adventurer, whatever that is, was very much a giant part of their father and husband´s life , success and failures. And reading a book by somebody who knows by their own heart, not an historian, who might have no personal clue what it is all about, makes a major difference. You know it makes sense and is true. So, Kari has written small portraits of the wife´s and partners of great polar explorers of the past.  Like for example the wife´s of Frithjof Nansen, my personal favorite of the past on this scene, Robert Peary, John Franklin, Ernest Shackleton and more. We are talking inspirational women like the gifted sculptor Kathleen Scott; eccentric traveller Jane Franklin; poet Eleanor Anne Franklin; Jo Peary, the first white woman to travel in the High Arctic; the determined Emily Shackleton; the Norwegian singer Eva Nansen; and her own mother, adventurer Marie Herbert, Kari Herbert blends personal accounts of longing, betrayal, and hope with stories of peril and adventure.

It is needed because as we are re-writing the past, giving a better picture to people who were heroes of the past, this is one part which has been largely forgotten. The women behind these heroes of the past. And as everyone knows today, there are no perfect human beings and whilst reading this book, I got an additional picture of these men. And their women, which all, more or less, almost come across to perfect. I touched a nerve for me, since I am in the same line of business, however neither hero or perfect, but I have spent a fair amount in the polar regions, am almost born into as a Scandinavian, and today I have a partner who can well compete with these ladies when it comes to being brave, highly intelligent, extremely supportive and also has a life of her own. And after reading this book, which everyone should, if one of quite a few perks of being a polar explorer, is getting almost perfect partners like this, what are you guys waiting for?


A highly inspiring, interesting and important book, which will become part of the modern polar classics, which all libraries on the subject should have as a reference guide and a great read.



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