By Beth Clark • May 25, 2018
At the ThriftBooks home base in Washington and throughout the Pacific Northwest, the term "12th man" is synonymous with the Seattle Seahawks; the 12s being the fans who support the players on the home field with 137.6 record-setting decibels of noise. (To put that in perspective, eardrum rupture occurs at 150 decibels.) While there are certainly plenty of books about the Seahawks and the 12s, Astrid Karlsen Scott's The 12th Man is about a very different and equally, if not more (sorry 12s!), riveting 12th man. Even readers who aren't into "war books" can easily find themselves caught up in the suspense and unable to put this book down!
The 12th Man is the meticulously researched story of Jan Baalsrud, whose captivating, edge-of-your-seat, real-life struggle to escape the Gestapo and survive in Nazi-occupied Norway inspired the international film Starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Thomas Gullestad released in theaters on May 4, 2018.
In March 1943, in the midst of WWII, four Norwegian saboteurs arrived in northern Norway on a fishing cutter and set anchor in Toftefjord to establish a base for their operations. They were betrayed, and a German boat attacked the cutter, which created a battlefield that spiraled the wounded Jan Baalsrud into the adventure of his life.
The only survivor, Baalsrud began a perilous journey to freedom that entailed swimming icy fjords, climbing snow-covered peaks, enduring snowstorms, and getting caught in a monstrous avalanche. Suffering from snowblindness and frostbite, more than 60 people of the Troms District risked their lives to help Baalsrud to freedom.
During an interview, Karlsen Scott was asked what inspired her to write The 12th Man. Her answer was "I remember reading We Die Alone in 1970 and I could never forget it. Then when we went to Norway to do a docudrama, people told us again and again that certain parts were pure fiction. Since I was a Norwegian that was not good enough; I had to find the truth. I sincerely believe we did."
She was also a native Norwegian devoted to her family and preserving and promoting her heritage through writing, lecturing, and giving workshops for organizations that included universities, the Smithsonian Institute, Norwegian chambers of Commerce, and The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Sadly, she passed away on September 8, 2017.
Her Other Books include: