Do You Know about the Michigan Polar Bears?

Did you know about the “secret” expedition of the World War One “Polar Bears” against the Bolsheviks¬† in the wilderness of Russia in 1918? Did you know that most of the military unit came from Michigan and Wisconsin since those men were “better prepared” to face the harsh winters? Did you know that the Creston High School sports teams, the Polar Bears, were named after this unit? If you want to find out more, come to Gordon Olson’s program on Sept 15th at 7:00pn in the auditorium of the main library. Olson’s’ new book, A Michigan Polar Bear Confronts the Bolsheviks: A War Memoir will be hot off the press and the Grand Rapids Public Library is proud to host the book launch for this interesting book.¬† It is a graphic first-person account of the young soldier Godfrey Anderson’s experiences setting up field hospitals in the vast Siberian wilderness, enduring many hardships, rubbing shoulders with Russian villagers, and barely escaping from the Bolsheviks. Historian Gordon Olson will set the geopolitical stage for Anderson’s war memoir and recount Anderson’s story and the writing of this book. Our local history department has the Godfrey Anderson manuscript collection. There is also a recent documentary about the Polar Bears made for PBS called Voices of a Never Ending Dawn. Mark your calendar now to attend and learn about this ill-fated expedition.

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