Wanderlust by Reid Mitenbuler

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Wanderlust:

“Eccentric” explorer is putting it lightly.

Quick synopsis:

A biography of Peter Freuchen who had a life you need to read to believe.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

Creatures happiest around ice are called “pagophiles.”

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

Male narwhal horns were believed to cure epilepsy, impotency, and flights of the mind.

My Take on Wanderlust:

I read a lot of Arctic/Antarctic literature. Every now and again, I wonder if I will get sick of these adventures. Honestly, sooner or later you can only read the word “pemmican” so many times before you lose your mind.

Then a book like Wanderlust by Reid Mitenbuler arrives and makes you feel like a fool for every doubting how exciting travel in extreme environments can be. Now, before you write this book off by saying this isn’t your thing, I would like to point out a few things. Namely, the subject of the book, Peter Freuchen was the following things: Arctic explorer, writer, reporter, game show contestant, Danish resistance fighter, actor, and MacGyver in one of the grossest stories I have ever read in my life. Everyone likes at least one of those things.

Mitenbuler writes a book which feels effortlessly short while containing an increasingly insane amount of varied stories. And yet, I also felt like Mitenbuler could have easily written 1,000 pages on Freuchen and not gotten all of it in. The book is very well written, but even Mitenbuler would probably admit, once he chose Freuchen, the hard part was already over. It’s great and you should read it, no matter who you are.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Mariner Books.)


An amazing book and a must read. Buy it here!

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4 responses to “Wanderlust by Reid Mitenbuler”

  1. Steve Avatar

    I’m listening to Wanderlust now and am enjoying it thoroughly. I bought it solely because of my appreciation for the work of Reid Mitenbuler, who also authored the superb book, “Bourbon Empire.”

    1. Brendan Dowd Avatar
      Brendan Dowd

      Thanks for commenting, Steve! Please don’t miss my podcast interview with Reid as well. It’s a great companion to the book.

  2. Barb K Avatar
    Barb K

    I’m always trolling for new reading ideas in history, and as I work through your backlist, Brendan, I’ve added quite a few. This guy sounds like someone I’d love to know more about!

    1. Brendan Dowd Avatar

      Happy to help, Barb! Yes, this is one of those books that leaves you saying, “how on earth did I not hear of this person before?!” Enjoy!

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