LAND UNDER THE POLAR STAR by Helge Ingstad

LAND UNDER THE POLAR STAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

One superiority Ingstad's study of medieval Norse settlements in Greenland has over other studies in our present bumper crop is that he personally has conducted expeditions to the sites. And they are now being excavated. His equally high-priced competitors are Farley Mowat's Westviking (1965- p. 956) and Count Oxenstierna's The Norsemen (1965- p. 1062). Where Mowat is long on historical motivation and impressionistic description, and where the Count encircles the entirety of Norse culture and world-exploration, Ingstad sticks to the sites, artifacts, architecture and techniques of culture which the Norse developed here. Also, he is consumed by a mystery. If he solves it, as he may, he might well take a place in history comparable in kind to Schliemann's, the discoverer of Troy. Why, he asks, after a 500-year civilization in Greenland, did the Norse abruptly disappear from our shores? Ruins he has studied indicate an invasion by foreign marauders. This alone is not the answer, and Ingstad has several intriguing suggestions, but he is reserving himself for his next, promised book. Here the writing is excellent, never florid but always embellished with realistic imagination.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1966
Publisher: St. Martin's Press