Review of Innocents in the Arctic. The 1951 Spitsbergen Expedition, by Colin Bull

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Arlov, Thor B.

As the title implies, this book is the story of an expedition to Spitsbergen in 1951. It would be an exaggeration to state that the expedition was actually sent forth by the University of Birmingham, but the ten young members were all attached to that institution as graduate or undergraduate students or, in two cases, as lecturers. One of the latter had by 1951 reached the considerable age of 28, but otherwise the field party consisted of men in their early twenties. In other circumstances this information might be of little relevance, but in this particular case age—or rather lack of experience—does play a certain role, alluded to by the book’s title. No doubt the university lent moral and to some extent practical support to the expedition, but it is obvious from reading the book that the initiative and most of the effort came from the participants themselves. Thus, an important lesson is learned already at the outset of the story: enthusiasm can bring you a long way, even to the Arctic.
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