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Farthest North

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  479 ratings  ·  30 reviews
In 1893 Nansen set sail in the Fram, a ship specially designed and built to be frozen into the polar ice cap, withstand its crushing pressures, and travel with the sea's drift closer to the North Pole than anyone had ever gone before. Experts said such a ship couldn't be built and that the voyage was tantamount to suicide.

This brilliant first-person account, originally pu
Paperback, 544 pages
Published August 17th 1999 by Modern Library (first published 1897)
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Mark Fallon
I just finished reading Farthest North: The Epic Adventure of a Visionary Explorer, by Fridtjof Nansen. The book chronicles the 1893-1896 polar expedition of Nansen and his crew aboard the schooner Fram.

I continue to be fascinated by the exploits of men like Nansen and his crew. In pursuit of knowledge, they subjected themselves to the relentless elements of the Arctic. With a crew of only 12, they took turns at the roles of sailor, scientist, cook, mechanic – or whatever the situation demanded.
This book is a gem. It provides a good level of detail for Nansen's expedition to get as close to the North Pole as possible in the late 19th century. The adventurers of the era were of a different class than what we would expect today. The plan was a bit ludicrous at the time, building a ship to intentionally get stuck in the ice and slowly over the course of a few years drift, stuck in the ice.

Nansen does a great job conveying his thoughts. They range from his meticulous planning, to concerns
I thought this was a very cool story. The first half of the book was great!! Nansen had a plan that worked pretty much exactly as he anticipated. And his writing of the expedition on the Fram was candid and a fun read. Once he left the ship to attempt to reach the North Pole, the story felt a little repetitive. But was still interesting. The trek across the ice flows, though not a super riveting read(to me) was still an amazing feat. And to have himself and the ship arrive back in Norway almost ...more
Ryan Vande
Fridjtof Nansen is one of the great legends of arctic exploration. This book recounts his amazing expedition launched in 1894. Other expeditions in the past had tried to reach the North Pole by sailing large cumbersome ships through the narrow and ice-filled straits north of Canada. Hundreds of menlo perished and dozens of ships were crushed and lost in the icy water. Nansen was one of those geniuses whose innovations changed the way things were done. He realized that there were powerful current ...more
Icarus Phaethon
I read this somewhere on the American west coast in 1999. The impact of the book has stayed with me ever since. Say what you want about the prose (it was written in 1897) or the sensibilities of the time (the killing of the dogs may disturb some), the story itself is epic. To go with Nansen on this incredible journey via these pages is a trip I would recommend everyone takes. The rewards are plenty, especially in the chapter 'The Journey Southward' when he reunites with friends who may have long ...more
The book is poorly written and poorly edited, which means that it's such a great story that even those problems can't keep it from being a page turner. This story makes many exploration stories look like jaunts to the mall in comparison as Nansen decides that being stuck in the ice for 2 years isn't enough for him and pushes himself farther north.

It's an amazing story and one that shows the true determination, personal strength and mental toughness of the turn-of-the-century explorers. Nansen's
This book had potential but really dragged at multiple points. I guess there isn't too much to variance in your daily life to write about when you're frozen in an ice floe for a year at a time. If you're interested in the subject, I'd say skim around until you find some interesting parts, which there are many. I was also disappointed in the fact that this was the illustrated version and there were maybe 1-2 drawings and 0 photographs, which they always mentioned that they were taking during thei ...more
These Norweigians organized a scientific, well-planned and executed trip north toward the north
pole. They endured relatively luxurious conditions on their well equiped ship, The Fram, which was designed to withstand pressure from the sea ice and did so for two winters.

Dr. Hansen and a companion suffered hardships after they left the ship to press onward toward the pole accompanied by their dogs.

Sorry, but my personal enjoyment of the saga was tempered by the brutality toward animals. Whether th
Bobo Johnson
It's not that Nansen is a spectacular writer, but this book is engaging. What's probably most amazing about it is that most of the story is about people -- well, sitting there, getting moved by ice. The author writes vividly of the experiences of his crew as they attempt to reach the North Pole by intentionally trapping their boat in sea ice and waiting for the current to carry them across. Written by the expedition's scientifically-driven leader, "Farthest North" is occasionally plodding, but t ...more
The daily updates of one of the most driven explorers reaching the North Pole. The times were different but it's hard to read now, what they did with their animals and the wildlife up there. They don't pretend to be saints, and as the story ever so slowly plods along, it got a bit Captain Ahab to me. At what cost was this folly? A tough read. I'm stopping half way, I get the idea.
Norwegian Dr. Nansen’s North Pole Expedition and his ingenious plan of building a boat that was captured by the ice purposefully and floats in the currents toward the North Pole

While the actual deeds are incredible, the writing by Dr. Nansen is a bit dry and is somewhat too detailed, as this book seems more written for his contemporary explorers rather than the layman such as me.

An interesting tale and different from the usual tales of deprivation in that Nansen’s crew endured relative luxury du
The Fram was a spaceship of its time, able to safely transport and shelter the crew in the Arctic environment. Its design, and Nansen's incorporation of native techniques to live and travel in the Arctic, showed his clear-minded ability to see beyond white chauvinism about Arctic exploration techniques. And of course his understanding of polar currents was a brilliant deduction. I loved how well they lived on the boat, always celebrating the smallest victory with a feast. The trip across the ice ...more
If you can get beyond the serial dog abuse, Farthest North is a hugely interesting and very readable book. Nansen describes his 1893 quest for the north pole employing direct quotes from his expedition diary and post-voyage commentary. He comes across as a nineteenth century renaissance man: explorer, ship designer, carpenter, navigator, naturalist, Norwegian national hero, leader of men and master of daring-do. Beyond the quest itself, I loved his descriptions of a part of the world few people ...more
Diane Ramirez
I'm a nut for books on arctic and antarctic exploration. This is one of the most memorable of these books I've read. I still think about this at least once a week, especially when I'm shivering in sixty-degree weather and have to think to myself: How in the world did these guys trek around the arctic on foot with no sleeping bags and no tent?! This is the journal of the captain who was a remarkable man and a poet. This is a long read that can sometimes seem dry and technical but believe me it's ...more
I've read a lot of books about Antarctic exploration, but not many on exploration in the Arctic. While there are a lot of similarities (ice, dogs, lots of waiting and walking and worrying about food), I really enjoyed reading about the differences (encounters with bears and walruses, snowshoeing, the possibility of actually running into other people). Great account of a really groundbreaking and interesting expedition; I'm now looking forward to reading Nansen's book about his crossing of Greenl ...more
Abdullah Almuslem
The book was very long but interesting. Nansen give a very detail record about his adventure, I really enjoyed the book although there were some moments where the book went slow. The book is a recommended read
Monster book and one might want to skim over some of the long technical descriptions, but fascinating account of exploration of the northern latitudes and amazing endurance story. Great descriptions. I read about this guy's trip in a National Geographic article. It can be a bit repetitive at times, but then again, the guy was on a long trip and so this gives one a sense of the repetitiveness of his life, especially when hunkered down riding out the winter.
Johnmark Larson
A (sometimes too) highly detailed account of a polar expedition in the 1890's. The author, an adventurous Norwegian, became convinced that he could ride the polar icecap over the North pole on a current running from Northern Siberia to the North Atlantic. So he built a special boat and lived in the arctic circle on the ice for almost 5 years. It's so alien from anything I've ever done and thus fascinates me. Feel free to skip over the too-detailed sections.
Hoo boy. I made it like halfway through this, and then I just could not. Because it is basically just Nansen's diary from every day for years and years stuck in the ice, and while I love Nansen (he was so. cool.), even I cannot stick it out through years of "today we had potatoes, and shot a polar bear. Tomorrow, we fish!" and variations on the theme foreeeeeeeeeeverrrrr. Sorry, Nansen. Love your face, though.
Hard to believe that a book devoted to this much time spent in essentially one spot in the polar ice cap can move along as well as it did. Interesting in the context of the science of the time, and typical 19th-century rah-rah trivialization of the EXTREME risks these guys took in the name of adventure. Inspirational from a standpoint of innovation and self-reliance in a land with limited resources. Very good.
This is an extensive retelling (by the explorer himself) of an exploration expedition to the North pole around the turn of the century. At the time it was probably the equivalent of going to the moon! Not only are the details of the trip fascinating, but the insightful and positive nature of Nansen's attitude is truly inspiring. A long read, but truly a rewarding perspective.
Dave Hoff
Introduction by Roland Huntford of the Diary of Dr. Nansen. Tells of the construction of the Fram. the Fram was stuck in the ice from 1893 to 1996. Dr. Nansen left to travel North toward the Pole by dogs & skis. Both the Fram & Nansen returned to Norway about the same time. Nansen was mentor to Amundsen and provided the Fram for the trip Amundsen made to the South Pole.
fridjtof nansen's epic diary of his attempt to sail to the north pole. for most of the book nansen and his shipmates on the fram are stuck drifting in the ice. it's a good book to read during the winter if you really want to feel completely bleak about everything.
Very National Geographicalicious. I enjoyed it, but not the best read for a brutal February. The crew was a little too trigger happy upon sight of polar bear, seal, walrus, whale, etc. for my taste. For a good old fashioned scientific explorer story, not bad.
I actually never finished this book. It became due and I gave up. I want to know the story behind Nansen's trip north, but I'd like to read a version that draws me in like a novel (I'm thinking like River of Doubt).
Eben Tonder
its a pity that VERY few people will ever read this book!! but it is a classic - a rear insight into an amazing guy!!!!
Jason Slemons
This is top 5, up there with Last Place on earth, Mawsons Will and Worst Journey in the World.
At times interesting and exciting, at times a little slow.
Aug 15, 2014 Susan marked it as to-read
Shelves: bh-library-book
Special Collections Rare Book
Mike Mazza
Nansen is one of my new heros...
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Treatment of Animals 2 14 Jan 14, 2014 08:22AM  
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The First Crossing Of Greenland Farthest North (Volume 2 (1897)); Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration of the Ship "Fram" 1893-96, and of a Fifteen Months' Sleigh Farthest North: Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration of the Ship Fram, 1893-96, and of a Fifteen Months' Sleigh Journey, Vol. 1 In Nacht Und Eis Armenia And The Near East

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“Wednesday, November 8th, 1893

Here I sit in the still winter night on the drifting ice-floe, and see only stars above me. Far off I see the threads of life twisting themselves into the intricate web which stretches unbroken from life’s sweet morning dawn to the eternal death-stillness of ice. Thought follows thought—you pick the whole to pieces, and it seems so small—but high above all towers one form … Why did you take this voyage? … Could I do otherwise? Can the river arrest its course and run up hill? My plan has come to nothing. That palace of theory which I reared, in pride and self-confidence, high above all silly objections has fallen like a house of cards at the first breath of wind. Build up the most ingenious theories and you may be sure of one thing—that fact will defy them all. Was I so very sure? Yes, at times; but that was self-deception, intoxication. A secret doubt lurked behind all the reasoning. It seemed as though the longer I defended my theory, the nearer I came to doubting it. But no, there is not getting over the evidence of that Siberian drift-wood. But if, after all, we are on the wrong track, what then? Only disappointed human hopes, nothing more. And even if we perish, what will it matter in the endless cycles of eternity?”
“Love is life's snow. It falls deepest and softest into the gashes left by the fight - whiter and purer than snow itself.” 1 likes
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