In The Field
By Brian K. Brecht
A birthday present has brought a new perspective on how we see our 26th president. The book “Theodore Roosevelt In the Field” by Michael R. Canfield, highlights the focus Roosevelt had as an outdoorsman and self made naturalist.
Certainly his education, time as a Rough Rider and political life are part of the narrative, but in this telling, they are not the primary focus of the biography. Happily they are there as the backdrop to how and why Roosevelt spent so much time hiking, hunting, and riding through the various wildernesses of the world.
The image of “The Bull Moose” has been ever present when it comes to describing Theodore Roosevelt, but here we see just why that description was so appropriate. It also shows something of the contradiction that existed, if not just for Roosevelt but also the time of the late 1800 and early 1900’s. Something we see even today, the need for conservation, while allowing the hunter and outdoorsman to exist side by side.
One of the more enjoyable aspects of the book highlights the notes and journals Roosevelt had written since his youth. Never realizing the volumes of writing he did not only as a naturalist but also as a professional, writing various articles and books for the likes of Scribbners. The book details his handwritten journals and has inspired us to revisiting our own journals from our various travels.
Whether you enjoy presidential history, science and conservations, or tales of the great outdoors, this book is sure to satisfy.
Two new additions came this week to the GAC library, specifically for the Polar section.
South with Endurance
We continue to be fascinated but the Antarctic explorations of Sir Ernst Shackleton, specifically the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition and the Endurance.
“South with Endurance” – Frank Hurley
This time however, we’ve been focusing on the expedition photographer, Frank Hurley. Hurley’s images have long fascinated us and we finally purchased our copy of Hurley’s “South with Endurance”.
This title brings to life the story of the Endurance and her crew’s struggle for survival, all through Hurley’s dramatic photographs. It’s a must have for any enthusiast of the Shackleton story.
Alone on the Ice
Next, we recently came across a somewhat unknown Antarctic expedition lead by the Australian, Douglas Mawson. In “Alone on the Ice” by David Roberts, Mawson reveals himself to be every bit a contemporary of Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen, as leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition. Unfortunately that story has received nowhere near the attention as his fellow explorers. Robert’s book illustrates the desperate struggle for life Mawson finds himself in during the 1913 expedition, all while his fellow crew members prepare to depart from the far south.
A fascinating story on it’s own but also helps to fill in portions of the Antarctic history that surrounds the other great explorations. To our surprise, even heroes such as Frank Hurley and Frank Wild are involved here prior to their journey on the Endurance.
It’s definitely a recommended read for those who enjoy the tales of “the ice keeping what the ice gets”.