Review of Explorer: the life of Richard E. Byrd, by Lisle A. Rose
AbstractWith his Hollywood good looks, Commander’s stripes, boyish humility, overweening faith in the righteousness of American technological progress, and bags of cash from some of America’s most reactionary Republican businessmen, Richard Evelyn Byrd in the late 1920s stepped neatly into the role of globally recognized polar superstar, a magnificently tricky job made vacant by Roald Amundsen’s chivalric disappearance north of Tromsø during the Italia catastrophe of 1928. In a geographic world soon to be taken over by science bureaucrats in national directorates and emerging research institutions, Byrd, a naturally sensitive and deep thinker, self-reinvented as a muscular man of action, became a final bastion of the fading cult of polar personality.
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