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LEGENDARY JACKRABBIT JOHANNSEN Johannsen, Alice. 1993 1st edition
By Johannsen, Alice.
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1993. 312 pp, photos. The life story of one of the pioneers of cross-country skiing. New Paperback.

This is the story of the remarkable Norwegian-Canadian who pioneered cross-country skiing in North America. A warm and personal portrait written by his daughter, it also places Johannsen's life in the context of the milieux in which he lived, and adds an element of objectivity and clarity to the Jackrabbit legend.

Jackrabbit's life spanned more than eleven decades. Born in Norway in 1875, he spent his early years there before going to university in Berlin. As a young engineer he emigrated to the United States. After living and working in New York, in 1928 he moved to Canada with his wife and children and made his home in Montreal. Despite the financial problems which he encountered throughout his life, his good humour and determination never failed nor did his devotion to the outdoors and the development of skiing. Jackrabbit became a symbol for wilderness adventure and the excitement of cross-country skiing and, through his energy and enthusiasm, managed to impart his ideals to countless others.

Alice Johannsen vividly describes the way her father lived and thought, and explains the personal philosophy that shaped his activities and achievements. This enjoyable biography will appeal to a wide range of general readers and offers a rich source for studies in sport, sociology, Canadian history, and Scandinavian studies.

Review quotes

'An exceptional and interesting personal insight into the man who was indeed a `skier extraordinaire' ... A compassionate and vivid account of Herman Smith Johannsen as a husband, father, friend, and remarkable Norwegian-Canadian ... It is through the many personal and private glimpses that we are able to learn about, and better understand, the Jackrabbit. His personality, beliefs, values, motives, and feelings are evident in the manner in which the author tells her story ... The entire book reflects a true look at the Norwegian-Canadian cultural experience that is part of the Canadian identity. We owe our Canadian ski tradition to the Norwegian ethnic influence, and this book reinforces that concept and strengthens that belief.' Rolf Lund, School of Physical and Health Education, Queen's University.


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