In 31 chapters, each as self-contained and pointed as a shard of ice, Brunner presents a different historic, political, natural or cultural facet of his subject... Thought-provoking and wide-ranging, Extreme North resembles the 'cabinet of wonders' that he uses as the book’s embarkation point.
— Liesl Schillinger - New York Times
] weaves a darker tapestry, layering legends over the science and history of the north to describe a place that is real, remote, inscrutable and cold… Brunner untangles the origin of these pseudoscientific ideas, from the veneration of the Vikings and Old Norse sagas to the doctrine of ‘Nordic’ superiority promoted by Nazi ideologues.
— Josie Glausiusz - Nature
An intrepid researcher and writer, Bernd Brunner takes readers on a journey through time and space and into the minds of countless many.… The journey is sometimes shocking, always fascinating, and surely worth taking.
— Jack E. Davis, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Gulf
A collection of curiosities…There may not be a great deal of sunniness here, or for that matter warmth, but the book makes up for that with fascinating anecdotes, useful digressions and little nuggets of interest.
— James Lovegrove - Financial TimesExtreme North
is an icily bewitching panorama of the dreams and fears, the fascination and the danger of the snowy limits of civilization. In these fantasies and travel accounts, ancient legends, and wild projections, we become spectators of the age-old dance between life and landscape of Nordic climes on the one hand, and human longing on the other.
— Philipp Blom, author of Nature’s Mutiny
[This] erudite, engaging book is indispensable for understanding the cultural status of the North today.
— Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir, author of Valkyrie: The Women of the Viking World
From the Ultima Thule of antiquity to the practices of the North’s Indigenous peoples to stoic, Kierkegaardian faith, and on to the racial fantasies about the North’s white peoples, Bernd Brunner’s imaginative-yet-critical exploration weaves together the many, often contradictory, images and ideas about the top of the globe. It should be read by the curious, student and scholar alike.
— Andrew K. Nestingen, author of Crime and Fantasy in Scandinavia
Beautifully written and deeply evocative, this is history that is in equal parts whimsical and disturbing. Bernd Brunner shows how scientific curiosity and the pursuit of adventure collided with malign theories of racial superiority, attributed to a myth of northern descent.… Extreme North
could not be more timely.
— Sunil Amrith, author of Unruly Waters
In Extreme North
, Bernd Brunner gives us a spry, fascinating tour through centuries of lore about the globe's colder latitudes. From Greek myths of Hyperborea to Enlightenment scientists to the Nazi adoration of Norse symbols, he brings alive the power of "the north" to inspire European ideas about everything from race and social organization to geography and history. Bristling with captivating details and characters, Brunner pushes us to wonder what the north is, and why it has so long fascinated people living to the south.
— Bathsheba Demuth, author of Floating Coast
Brunner’s work is a dizzying tour of the ways in which successive ages have engaged with the idea of the north… More than anything, though, the book is a reminder that the north is both a place and a perspective.
— Phillip Parker - Literary Review
Brunner reaches deep into the journals, letters, and works of travelers, explorers, poets, and politicians, and these, in his hands, give good voice to events and trends that might otherwise offer a dry march through obscure history.
— Neil Shea - American Scholar
A fascinating and historically disturbing journey through an intriguing land of mystery and legend.
[A] captivating and wide-ranging account. . . Erudite yet accessible, and packed with intriguing arcana, this cultural history fascinates.
— Publishers Weekly
As content creators continue to find inspiration in the mythical north, readers interested in why these themes have had such longevity will find this book invaluable.
— Margaret Atwater-Singer, Univ. of Evansville Lib., IN - Library Journal