Review of The reindeer botanist: Alf Erling Porsild, 1901–1977, by Wendy Dathan
For anyone who might imagine that the life of a 20th century botanist could have been anything other than an amiable and peaceful pursuit of floral diversity this biography will come as a revelation. Alf Erling Porsild (he preferred to be called Erling) was brought up in Greenland at Godhavn (69˚N), where his father, a botanist and a graduate in natural history from the University of Copenhagen was the director of the first permanent research station to be situated north of the Arctic Circle. It is not surprising that such an entry into Arctic life, its rigours and challenges, together with a botanist for a parent, created a character uniquely adapted to biological exploration of remote parts of the Arctic. Wendy Dathan has written an meticulous and engrossing account of just how the life of arguably the most outstanding explorer and pioneer of Canadian Arctic botany developed from childhood in Greenland to become a botanist of international renown and lasting fame.
(Published: 1 July 2013)
Citation: Polar Research 2013, 32, 21662, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v32i0.21662
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Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Norwegian Polar Institute.