Tuesday, July 24, 2007


The Last Gentleman Adventurer

Monday, May 28, 2007

By Edward Beauclerk Maurice
In 1930, at the age of seventeen, Edward Maurice signed on with the Hudson Bay Company to travel to Canada as one of its agents. The rest of his family traveled to New Zealand to find a better life, but Maurice felt drawn to the arctic land of Baffin Island. And it is clear all through the book, which details the first four of his nine years with the company, how much he came to love the harsh life and the people he met. Unlike most of his colleagues, he learned the language and became a part of the coomunity in which he lived. Now called the Inuit people, the Eskimos of the Northeastern regions of Canada lived in danger of starvation and freezing most of the time. Even so, they had adapted wonderfully to the place they call home. In the summer they live in tents and build snow houses (igloos) in the winter. The heat for cooking and warmth was provided by whale oil and seal oil lamps. Even though I had a hard time getting into the book, I slowly became more interested as the story progressed. The descriptions of the hunt on land and sea were fascinating. Maurice had to travel from his first post for four days by sledge led by dogs to take food to rescuing a starving community gaining his acceptance by the Eskimos. At the second post, Maurice arrrived to find many of the people sick with an unknown illness. Over a year, the post lost 24 of its 121 population, many of them needed hunters. As the post agent, Maurice was compelled to go on hunts and traps to help feed and clothe the widows. His ambivalence toward the females who show interest in him is quite charming. This story was told in a straightforward manner without a lot of fanfare. Even though Maurice accomplished many thngs, he seems very humble giving most of the credit to the people who taught him. While this was an interesting book about a culture and place I knew very little about; it's not a book I will read again. It would be interesting to know more about Maurice's life after he left the arctic, but this is the only book he wrote.
Rating: 3.5
Posted by Framed at 6:13 PM

MyUtopia said...
It sounds interesting, thanks for the review.
5/29/2007 1:07 PM
booklogged said...
Sounds like a good book to read in the heat of the summer. Maybe it will cool a person down somewhat.
5/29/2007 1:09 PM
Bookfool said...
Oh, that sounds really interesting. Thanks for a fab review!And, what booklogged said. I love reading about cold places in the summer. :)

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