THE SLEDGE PATROL by David Howarth
Kirkus Star


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We Die Alone was one of 1955's exciting discoveries. That and the earlier Across to Norway provided panels in World War II's stories of minor incidents that make for major drama. Here is another such panel, a fascinating and holding story of the war in one of the world's most barren areas, the northeast coast of Greenland. While it lacks the concentrated personal agony and some of the horrors of the earlier book it is filled with tales of heroism. Greenland, a Danish colony, was deeply involved in Germany's invasion of Denmark. But Eske Brun, Governor and ruler of some 22,000 people in a domain of ice, decided to defy Germany. Invasion was a threat for, 700 miles beyond a settlement, there were four weather stations, of immense value to either side. To protect them, Brun formed the Sledge Patrol, fifteen men each with his own dog team. Seven of them were quartered 600 miles within the Arctic Circle. Before the Germans came, the weather stations were ""captured"" by a Dane, under German instructions, but with no intent of carrying them out. He devised a code for the allies' use alone, and when the Germans cracked the code, they sent out another expedition, under an Austrian, unsympathetic to their goals, but obedient. For six months the Germans sent out their broadcasts from Sabine Island. Then the Sledge Patrol found them. There follows a tale of treks back and forth across Greenland, as the patrols, seeking their ousted members, crossed each other's tracks. Ritter, the Austrian, was deeply affected by the needless death of one man. Then there is the touching story of Ritter and his captive, forced to share each other's food and quarters, and finally exchanging roles. The book is simply and honestly written, it conveys the true spell of the arctic. This reader found it spellbinding and feels that a great number of readers will agree.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1957
Publisher: Macmillan