Authors…quiet homebodies that avoid the sunlight, shut away in their flats, preferring not to get dressed for the day unless they have a book signing scheduled. This, of course, is nothing more than a stereotype and there is a wide margin of differences among people in this career; however, that also means there are a few outliers—people who are so far away from the “typical” author that it’s hard to fathom. Today, we will look at six authors who were more interesting than the books they wrote.
Peter Freuchen (1886-1957)
Have you heard of someone and just couldn’t believe they were real—that an actual person could accomplish feats that make characters like James Bond and Ethan Hunt look like wusses? Let me introduce you to Peter Freuchen, author of more than 30 books, according to the YouTube channel Thoughty2. His writing took many forms and was far from the only thing he occupied his time with.
Freuchen is best remembered for his role in the exploration of the Artic North. He led numerous journeys through the heart of Greenland, as well as other parts of the world, escaping death in some of the weirdest ways. For the sake of a broader audience rating, we’ll leave it to you to do the research on what we mean.
When he wasn’t exploring the barren snowy wasteland of the north, Freuchen was editor of a Danish journal, married a couple multi-millionaires, fought against the Nazis and their occupation of Denmark during WWII, escaped a Nazi prison before his death sentence, wrote, directed, and starred in an Oscar-winning movie, among others, and won the jackpot on the gameshow The $64,000 Question. Yeah… Take a moment to breathe. As for Freuchen’s 30+ books, they comprised of tales from his journeys in the arctic and topics such as Inuit culture and navigation.
Below is a short list of Peter Freuchen’s most popular works:
Sir Christopher Lee (1922-2015)
You’ve probably heard of him if not seen him before. He’s the actor famous for roles such as Count Dracula, Francisco Scaramanga (James Bond), Count Dooku (Star Wars prequel trilogy), and Saruman (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) according to Wikipedia. He also served in the Finnish Army during the Winter War, fighting against Soviet occupation of Finland, as well as for the Royal Air Force (RAF) during WWII. Aside from acting, Sir Lee found time to be a singer of opera and heavy metal and to ghost-edit the 4 books written about him by Michael Parry. I mean, why not? He had to make sure his badass-ness is kept straight…
Below is Sir Christopher Lee’s autobiography, as well as his editing collaborations:
Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)
Let me put it this way… She won a war against Argentina over a couple of tiny Atlantic islands. Nicknamed, the “Iron Lady,” according to Britannica, Margaret Thatcher was one powerful figure in British and global politics. She served as Prime Minister between 1979-1990, leading by the guiding principle of minimizing government interference with enterprise and individual freedom. Though she is viewed with mixed feelings today, she was undoubtably one of the most memorable prime ministers, as a result of her strong and unwavering character. She was also the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom and the whole of Europe, opening doors for future women leaders.
Aside from her career in politics, she wrote numerous books, according to Good Reads, primarily on the topics of global politics and her own experiences in office.
Below is a list of some of Margaret Thatcher’s works:
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
This man was both a U.S. president and a Bull-Moose, and somehow found time to write dozens of books. Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt was an individual characterized by his vigor and energy. Despite being bogged down by physical ailments as a child, according to the YouTube channel Biographics, he worked to overcome them. You have him to thank for America’s many National Parks, which probably would have been strip-mined by now if not for his policies.
Before becoming the 26th President, he fought in the Spanish-American War, successfully led a charge uphill under heavy gunfire. Among other things, he graduated from Harvard University, served as police chief in New York City, lived as a literal cowboy in the frontier lands of South Dakota where he was also a bounty hunter for hire, and kicked off the construction of the Panama Canal. And all that’s not to overshadow his biggest achievement: inciting jealousy in the generations after him for being able to grow a full mustache.
Below is a list of some of his books, which mainly encompassed the topics of naturalism and certain aspects of his life:
Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804)
You may only know him from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton. You probably haven’t read his works, but they have been affecting the affairs of the United States since it was first conceived.
Born on the tiny obscure Caribbean island of St. Kitts and Nevis according to Wikipedia, Alexander Hamilton was soon orphaned when his mother became ill and died. Taking his life into his own hands, he moved to the British colony of New York, where he attended King’s College (now the Ivy League Columbia University). Shortly after his arrival, Hamilton joined the side of George Washington during the American Revolutionary War, eventually serving as his right hand. He proved decisive in the victory against the British forces.
When American independence was achieved, Hamilton didn’t put his feet up and admire his achievements: he became a lawyer and played a pivotal role in the development of the country’s Constitution. His best known work of writing is The Federalist Papers, which he wrote in collaboration with James Madison and John Jay, though their “collaboration” mirrored the typical class project structure in college: Hamilton wrote 60% of the essays comprising the work.
Julius Caesar (100-44 BC)
He’s the second member on this list that had a play written about them. With both a famous tagline (Veni vidi vici: I came, I saw, I conquered) and a famous death (The Ides of March), it goes without saying that he lived a life beyond average, even for a Roman.
Though he came from modest means, Gaius Julius Caesar arose to become one of the foremost players in Roman politics prior to its alteration into the empire. While on his way to study on the island of Rhodes, Caesar was kidnapped by pirates according to Britannica. Of course, if you’ve seen the Shakespeare play, you know it doesn’t end with him walking the plank. While he was under their custody, he forced them to raise his ransom, seeing himself as being worth more than they initially priced. Years later, he escaped, rounded up a crew and a fleet, hunted them down, and brutally crucified them–all on his own time. During his military career, Caesar became general and led a successful conquest of Gaul (modern day France). During his time there, he made a short trip across the Rhine River…by ordering his troops to construct a bridge, according to the documentary series by the History Channel called Engineering an Empire. He also became the first Roman to successfully land on the island of Great Britain, despite not successfully leading a campaign to conquer it.
It wasn’t just swordplay he engaged in. Caesar befriended and had affairs with the famous Ptolemy Pharaoh Cleopatra before becoming dictator for life back in Rome. Since his raw power was too much (or because the senators were jealous), they ganged up on him on March 15, and stabbed him not once, but 23 times, according to National Geographic. To top it all, his death was marked by a public outcry, which goes to show just how popular he was with the average Joe and Josephine.
As for books, he wrote only one, but that’s enough to make one an author. It’s an autobiographical account titled The Conquest of Gaul and he wrote it in the third person. Interesting choice…
As stated earlier, authors come from all walks of life. This list goes to show that to an extent which is rarely reached. From politicians to explorers, generals and revolutionaries, the truth is that these people shared a love for books and contributed to the growing library of the human experience.