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Antarctica book suggestions
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Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
Antarctica book suggestions on 05/30/2012 00:23:47 MDT Print View

Sorry, I know this isn't really a gear question, I'm just not sure which subforum would be the most appropriate section for it...maybe "Winter Hiking".

I recently read a book titled, "Polar Dream", which chronicals Helen Thayer's solo ski expedition to the magnetic north pole. Now I'm in the mood to read some expeditions to Antarctica (to be honest, the south pole has always held a whole lot more intrigue and allure to me than the north pole).

If anyone has good suggestions I'd appreciate it. I plan on reading "The Endurance" as well. I know it's not exactly a modern polar expedition, but I've heard it's an outstanding story.

Apologies again. I realize that Antarctica expeditions are not exactly lightweight backpacking, but I'd immagine the same types of people (those who love exploring the outdoors), would be drawn towards both interests. Hence my reason for asking it here.

Edited by Jedi5150 on 05/30/2012 00:24:33 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Antarctica book suggestions on 05/30/2012 00:26:01 MDT Print View

The Worst Journey in the World
Shackleton's Forgotten Men
Ranulph Fiennes' trip across the polar cap (I forget the name).

Funny - all of these were really disasters.


Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Antarctica book suggestions on 05/30/2012 01:04:17 MDT Print View

I second Roger's recommendations.

I also liked "Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica" by Sara Wheeler.

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
Re: Re: Antarctica book suggestions on 05/30/2012 01:34:08 MDT Print View

Thanks Roger and Miguel! I knew I could count on this group for recommendations. I'll check those out.

Mark Fowler
(KramRelwof) - MLife

Locale: Namadgi
Elliot Porter on 05/30/2012 03:46:50 MDT Print View

There is a excellent part coffee table book from 1978 on Antarctica.

Antarctica by Elliot Porter, publisher Hutchison Publishing (NZ) ISBN 0 09 136350 0.

You may recognise the authors other works such as "In Wilderness is the preservation of the world" and "Forever wild: the Adirondacks" among others.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Antarctica book suggestions on 05/30/2012 08:35:06 MDT Print View

Not a book, internet only.Ray and Jenny Jardine(Mr. and Mrs lightweight) 750 miles in 57 days

Edited by annapurna on 05/30/2012 08:36:43 MDT.

Brent Mahan

Locale: Southern New Hampshire
Endurance on 05/30/2012 08:45:54 MDT Print View

I'm currently reading "Endurance". Fantastically written book. Hard to put down. Great and interesting history mixed with excitement, suspense, and a bit of humor.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Antarctica book suggestions on 05/30/2012 08:59:06 MDT Print View

The South Pole, by Captain Roald Amundsen
Scott's Last Expedition, by Robert Falcon Scott
South, by Sir Ernest Shackleton

They were the actual accounts written by those men. Their diaries, if you will.

I agree with Roger's suggestions. I think Apsley Cherry Garrard's The Worst Journey in the World is the best written book of them all. He documents the same adventure as Scott's Last Expedition. The chapter that describes the actual "worst journey in the world" is my favorite all time story of adventure/survival. He describes a several week trek by Garrard and two of his mates to collect emporer penguin eggs on Cape Royds in total winter darkness. An amazing story...

For another easy and quick read about Shackleton, I'd suggest Alfred Lansing's Endurance.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Antarctica book suggestions on 05/30/2012 09:09:10 MDT Print View

If you like fiction, "Antarctic Navigation" by Elizabeth Arthur got me started on reading everything I could find on Antarctic exploration.

I 2nd all the books above. The Fiennes book "Race to the Pole: Tragedy, Heroism, and Scott's Antarctic Quest" is wonderful. But I think the one Roger mentions is "Mind over Matter" which is the story of his crossing of the Antarctic.

Also the journals of Robert Falcon Scott are quite interesting and touching.

At the other end of the earth, you might like "In the Land of White Death" by Valerian Albanov.

Last December I saw an amazing photo exhibit, "The Heart of the Great Alone," at the Queens's Gallery in London of photos taken on the Shackleton and Scott expeditions. Unbelievably beautiful large prints, and very moving - it included shots taken at the pole on a camera found in the tent with the bodies of Scott, Bowers, and Wilson. After having read all these books, I almost felt like I'd known these men, and to see the exhaustion and disappointment on their faces really hit me.

Edited by dkramalc on 05/30/2012 09:22:39 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Antarctica book suggestions on 05/30/2012 09:19:45 MDT Print View

My all time favorite book on arctic travel is, "This Cold Heaven" by Gretel Ehrlich. It's about living and traveling with the Inuit in Greenland. Made me want to give up everything and move to the north and live by hunting and traveling with a dog sled.

"Arctic Dreams" by Barry Lopez is another magic book.

Edited by butuki on 05/30/2012 09:20:22 MDT.

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
Re: Re: Antarctica book suggestions on 05/30/2012 12:40:33 MDT Print View

Wow! Everything from coffee table books, to internet articles, to novels. I greatly appreciate it everyone. This will give me some great material to whet my appetite. :)

Thanks again!

Jim Larkey
(jimlarkey) - MLife

Locale: NoCO
Re: Antarctica book suggestions on 05/30/2012 13:00:49 MDT Print View

Mike Stroud's "Shadows on the Wasteland..."
1993 foot crossing of Antarctica

Reinhold Messner's "Antartica, Both Heaven and Hell"

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Re: Re: Antarctica book suggestions on 05/30/2012 17:17:08 MDT Print View

This is an excellent book, Mawson And The Ice Men Of The Heroic Age - Scott, Shackleton And Amundsen, Peter Fitzsimons.

For those of you who are interested in Antarctic history, this very interesting article came out in New Scientist,


Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Antarctica books on 05/30/2012 20:32:41 MDT Print View

On the Shackleton Trans-Antarctic expedition:

Endurance, by Alfred Lansing. Best synthesis of interviews of expedition members. Very good read.
The Endurance, by Caroline Alexander. Superb at capturing the pre-WW1 age of expedition. Also marvelous use of expedition photos.
South, by Sir Ernest Shackleton. His own account.
Shackleton's Boat Journey, by Frank Worsley. Worsley was Shackleton's caption, and the man who guided the lifeboat from Elephant Island to South Georgia. Marvelous firsthand account by a terrific writer.

On the Scott Polar Expedition:

Cherry-Giraurd, The Worst Journey in the World. Title says it all. The expedition was a masterpiece of stiff-upper-lip incompetence.

Coffee table books:

Hurley, South with Shackleton. The expedition photographer, a master of self-aggrandizement.
T. and C. Carr, Antarctic Oasis, Photographic essay of South Georgia Island

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Antarctica book suggestions on 05/30/2012 21:34:52 MDT Print View

Tony, that article is fascinating! Thank you for the link! I've read a number of these books but never heard of Shirase!

Is there anything good on Admiral Byrd's expeditions in the 1920's and 1940's?

Edited by hikinggranny on 05/30/2012 21:37:26 MDT.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Antarctica book suggestions on 05/30/2012 22:26:31 MDT Print View

Here's one I enjoyed many years ago:
The crossing of Antarctica; the Commonwealth Transantarctic Expedition, 1955–1958 with Sir Vivian Fuchs (1958). Cassell ASIN B000HJGZ08

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Re: Antarctica book suggestions on 05/30/2012 22:51:56 MDT Print View

Hi Mary,

Yes it is a very interesting story.

Although this book which I am currently reading 'Farthest North' by Fridtjof Nansen is not about Antarctic, it is a fascinating story, his boat the Fram was used by Amundsen on his successful south pole expedition.


Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Antarctica books and films. on 05/31/2012 08:56:58 MDT Print View

My favorites are Endurance and Worst Journey in the World (best title in the world).

There is a film "Endurance" that is mainly still photos and a few bits of motion by Shackleton's photographer; this is excellent, see it in a theater where the projectionist knows how to focus.
Netflix has a number of Antarctic movies. One I liked was by Werner Herzog, "Encounters at the End of the World".

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Antarctica book suggestions on 05/31/2012 10:47:22 MDT Print View

One of the highlights of my visit to Norway was visiting the Fram which is now a museum in Oslo. I spent more time there than I did at the Kon-Tiki museum!