Frank Sands, Author at Iceland Review Skip to content

Frank Sands

Magazine

There and Back Again

“I’m eager to tell you about him.”  Everyone loves a good story, especially tales of adventure featuring a dogged, tenacious and sometimes tragic hero. In our day, thanks to more objective research and unflinching writing, heroes have lost much of their shine. Where we once unquestioningly celebrated aviator Charles Lindbergh, there is no denying that […]

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anna moldnúpur
Culture

Globetrotter

Already suffering from nausea in anticipation of a long voyage at sea, a middle-aged, red-headed Icelandic country woman with a modest suitcase nervously climbed a narrow gangplank in Reykjavik harbour to board the Brúarfoss, an Icelandic passenger and cargo ship. It was a bright, calm evening in mid-July 1946 and Anna – a weaver by […]

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Looking Back

Höfði

On a cold winter’s night in 1952, John Greenway, Great Britain’s Minister to Iceland, heard a loud bang and woke in his bed with a start. He was alone in the embassy, commonly known as Höfði house, which also served as his official residence. Intent on discovering the source of the disruption, he descended the […]

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Looking Back

A Diamond In the Rough

There are three things that make Iceland distinct. Firstly, the relatively small land itself is full of glaciers, volcanoes, and its stark beauty. Secondly, the remarkable people who populate the land and whose ancestors only survived countless catastrophes with a combination of tenacity, hope, and stubborn love of their petulant land. And finally, the peculiar Icelandic language which is spoken by fewer than 350,000 people worldwide and is notoriously difficult to learn. This last aspect of Iceland, the Icelandic language, is perhaps one of the most difficult to appreciate for foreigners.

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Friðrik Gíslason. Westman Islands
Looking Back

The Westman Islands Army

Iceland’s largest town throughout the pre-modern period was not Reykjavík, which for most of its history was little more than a collection of small farms. One of its largest was Heimaey, or “Home Island,” in the Westman Islands archipelago, just off the south coast. The first Icelandic census of 1703 shows only 318 people living […]

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Looking Back

The Foreman

The crimeIn the small hours of a cold and dark night in 1827, Hjörtur Jónsson’s slumber was interrupted by the distant sound of wood cracking. Wielding a long iron bar, someone was violently prying open the wealthy farmer’s front door; hinges creaked, groaned, and then gave way with a faint bang. Now fully awake, his heart […]

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Looking Back

Western promises

While most people today are very much aware of Europe’s exploration and colony building in what was optimistically called the New World, you would be forgiven for not knowing that Icelanders founded a self-governing colony in the Americas as well. New Iceland was established on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba in the late 19th century, beginning with the settlement of Gimli, named after “the most beautiful place on Earth” in Norse mythology. It is estimated that nearly 25% of the entire population of Iceland emigrated to North America over the four decades that followed.

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