GREENLAND: Island at the Top of the World by Madelyn Klein Anderson

GREENLAND: Island at the Top of the World

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Some may take exception to Anderson's approach to Greenland--via the International Ice Patrol (whose activities she has previously chronicled) and, preeminently, Greenland's strategic importance ""to North American defense."" Nonetheless much of Greenland's history is, as she says, ""the story of the use of the country's location""--by Vikings, whalers, explorers, scientists, adventurers, and the military in turn. And, those incursions apart, Anderson does recount the curious course of Greenland's messianic, Norwegian-Danish settlement without blinking or undue breast-beating. ""The Eskimos of the Godthaab region were increasing in number, drawn to the mission by the opportunity to be with people, the church services, and the chance to save their souls. But the society [the settlers brought] was unhappy, violent, and oppressive."" If anything, her account of present-day Greenland's troubles--the direct result of administering Denmark's post-WW II decision to ""end the island's isolation and bring it into the modern world""--leans too heavily on the betterment/deterioration dichotomy. More Greenlander input--and more about such localized initiatives as the Inuit Circumpolar Conference--would have helped to remove Greenland altogether from the ranks of places acted upon. So little is known of the country, however, that this might stimulate curiosity and lead kids, ideally, to Tete-Michel Kpomassie's An African in Greenland (p. 506).

Pub Date: Aug. 29th, 1983
Publisher: Dodd, Mead