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Book of the Eskimos


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About the Author

Peter Freuchen was born in Denmark in 1886. Freuchen enrolled at the University of Copenhagen and began to study medicine. However, before long Freuchen realized that a life indoors was not for him. In 1906, he made his first expedition to Greenland. He and his friend Knud Rasmussen sailed from Denmark as far north as possible before leaving their ship and continuing by dogsled for over 600 miles. On their travels, they met and traded with the Inuit people while learning the language and accompanying them on hunting expeditions.In 1910, Peter Freuchen and Rasmussen established a trading post, in Cape York, Greenland, naming it Thule. The post would serve as a base for seven expeditions, known as the Thule Expeditions, that would take place between 1912 and 1933.Between 1910 and 1924, Freuchen lectured visitors to Thule on Inuit culture, and traveled around Greenland, exploring the previously unexplored Arctic.From time to time, Freuchen would return home to his native Denmark. In the late 1920s, he joined the Social Democrats movement and became a regular contributor to Politiken, a political newspaper.He also became the editor-in-chief of Ude of Hjemme, a magazine owned by the family of his second wife. He even became involved in the film industry, contributing to the Oscar-winning film Eskimo/Mala the Magnificent, which was based on a book written by him.During World War II, Peter Freuchen found himself in the center of political drama. Freuchen never tolerated discrimination of any kind, and any time he heard someone express anti-Semitic views, he would approach them and, in all his 6'7" glory, claim to be Jewish.He was also actively involved with the Danish resistance and fought Nazi occupation in Denmark. In fact, he was so boldly anti-Nazi that Hitler himself saw him as a threat, and ordered him arrested and sentenced to death. Freuchen was arrested in France, but ultimately escaped the Nazis and fled to Sweden.During his busy and exciting lifetime, Peter Freuchen managed to settle down three times.He met his first wife while living in Greenland with the Inuit people. In 1911, Freuchen married an Inuit woman named Mequpaluk and had two children with her, a son named Mequsaq Avataq Igimaqssusuktoranguapaluk and a daughter named Pipaluk Jette Tukuminguaq Kasaluk Palika Hager.After Mequpaluk succumbed to the Spanish Flu in 1921, Freuchen married a Danish woman named Magdalene Vang Lauridsen in 1924. Her father was the director of Denmark's national bank and her family owned the Ude of Hjemme magazine that Freuchen would ultimately run. Freuchen and Lauridsen's marriage would last 20 years before the pair split.In 1945, after fleeing the Third Reich, Freuchen met Danish-Jewish fashion illustrator Dagmar Cohn. The pair moved to New York City to escape Nazi persecution, where Cohn had a job working for Vogue.After he moved to New York, Peter Freuchen joined the New York Explorer's Club, where a painting of him still hangs on the wall amongst the taxidermied heads of exotic wildlife. He lived out the rest of his days in relative quiet (for him) and eventually passed away at the age of 71 in 1957, three days after completing his final book Book of the Seven Seas.His ashes were scattered over Thule, Greenland, where his life as an adventurer began.

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