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Review of “A Grand Adventure: The Lives of Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad ..."

by Leo Lehtiniemi


Members of the CNS may be interested in a book by Benedicte Ingstad, entitled “A Grand Adventure,” the English translation of which was recently (2017) published by McGill-Queen’s University Press. It is the story of her parents, Helge Ingstad and Anne Stine Ingstad, both Norwegians, whose experiences in Canada spanned many years and went through many ups and downs. Perhaps the most notable of these deal with the discovery of definitive archaeological evidence of the first Viking settlement at L’Anse Aux Meadows in Newfoundland. But there is much more to the story.


Members of the CNS who have been bitten by the wilderness bug will relish reading about Helge’s early excursions in the far north, at a time when the edge of the frontier did not extend anywhere near as far as it does today, and before the creep of "civilization" and "modernization" tamed - some may say polluted - the natural wilderness and its down to earth way of life in so many ways.

Perhaps even more interesting are the numerous professional and political challenges they had to overcome along the way, and particularly before appropriate credit was ultimately conferred. CNS members who are intrigued by and wish to delve into the forces at play in how Canadian history, and perhaps history anywhere is written, will appreciate the account of how long it took and how many obstacles had to be faced and surmounted before due recognition was bestowed.

The book was one I had difficult putting down, or skimming through. There was just so much that fascinated me, and the writing was tight and with very little fluff or esoteric detail. Many parts fired the imagination. I recommend it heartily for extended fireside reading.

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