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    $10.46 $2.95 list($13.95)
    1. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible
    $19.77 $11.98 list($29.95)
    2. The Endurance : Shackleton's Legendary
    $11.53 $11.02 list($16.95)
    3. Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange
    $25.17 list($39.95)
    4. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge:
    $6.98 list($19.95)
    5. Midnight Wilderness
    $16.47 $11.00 list($24.95)
    6. Where Mountains Are Nameless:
    $17.81 list($26.99)
    7. Lonely Planet Greenland &
    $15.61 $14.90 list($22.95)
    8. Three Among the Wolves: A Couple
    $19.77 list($29.95)
    9. Birds of Southern South America
    $32.67 $32.57 list($49.50)
    10. The Complete Guide to Antarctic
    $19.98 list($45.00)
    11. Poles Apart: Parallel Visions
    $9.13 list($19.95)
    12. Mitsuaki Iwago's Penguins
    $10.17 $3.50 list($14.95)
    13. North to the Night : A Spiritual
    $8.84 list($13.95)
    14. Arctic Dreams : Imagination And
    $9.54 list($19.95)
    15. Antarctica: A Guide to the Wildlife,
    $16.49 $16.43 list($24.99)
    16. Lonely Planet Antarctica (Lonely
    $39.95
    17. Tourism in the Antarctic: Opportunities,
    $5.49 list($29.95)
    18. Arctic Crossing : A Journey Through
    $9.99 list($40.00)
    19. Antarctica: A Year at the Bottom
    $35.00 $4.95
    20. The Coldest March: Scott`s Fatal

    1. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
    by Alfred Lansing
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $10.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 078670621X
    Catlog: Book (1999-03-01)
    Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers
    Sales Rank: 1174
    Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    'A thrilling reading experience! One of the greatest adventure stories of our times' - New York Times Book Review. In 1914 Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 men, sailed for the South Atlantic on the 'Endurance' with the object of crossing the Antarctic over land. In October 1915, still half a continent away from their intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in ice. For five months Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the world's most savage regions. This gripping book based on firsthand accounts of crew members, describes how the men survived, living together in camps on the ice for 17 months, how they were attacked by sea leopards, had to kill their beloved dogs whom they could no longer feed, and suffered disease with no medicines (an operation to amputate the foot of one member of the crew was carried out on the ice). Their extraordinary indefatigability and their lasting civility towards one another in the most adverse conditions shines through. ... Read more

    Reviews (332)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Antidote for the Age of Whining and Self-Absorption
    Everything that defines courage and leadership for our age and any other is within the 280 pages of this wonderful book. For nearly two years, in conditions of constant zero and below cold, freezing wet, and often hunger, Ernest Shackleton kept all 27 men who sailed with him on the Endurance alive to eventually return to the England they left on the verge of World War I. That single-minded devotion to his men should make this book required reading for every would-be politician and corporate executive before he dares ask for the faith, trust and respect of those he would lead.

    Lansing dedicated the book "In appreciation for whatever it is that makes men accomplish the impossible." He wisely and without flourish often lets the men's own words -- through the journals that many of them kept at the time and in interviews forty years later -- tell their extraordinary story, each stage of which reads more harrowing than the last. On an expedition that would have attempted to cross the Antarctic on foot (a feat not accomplished until four decades later), the Endurance is trapped in pack ice before it can reach shore. Shackleton's perhaps foolhardy original goal thus turns to keeping his men alive until they can be rescued. After ten months locked in the drifting pack, the Endurance is crushed and the men forced to abandon her for an ice floe, then several weeks later a smaller floe still. Eventually they take to three boats to reach forlorn Elephant Island from which Shackleton takes a skeleton crew of five and in a 22 foot open boat navigates the enormous seas of Drake's Passage to South Ascension Island. Once there he only (only!) has uncharted glaciers to cross to reach the whaling station on the other side of the island from which rescue of the Elephant Island castaways is eventually launched. The only other crossing of South Georgian Island by foot at the time Lansing wrote in 1959 occurred on a "easier" route with equipment and time. Shackleton had neither, only a fifty foot piece of rope, a carpenter's adze, and the knowledge that to stop moving was to invite death by freezing. At journey's end, to the astonished manager of the whaling factory, he says simply, "My name is Shackleton." I would have liked to have known him and all his men.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Amazing True Life Adventure Story
    I purchased this book for my husband, never intending on reading it myself, but after his raves and recommendations I finally picked it up, and read it with great relish from page 1 to the end. This is surely one of the greatest true life adventure stories of all time. Even though I knew the eventual outcome of this survival tale, I was kept completely captivated by the events as they unfolded, and the almost unbelievable conditions that these men faced. Lansing's well written book presents the facts in a story form that flows easily from event to event. I purchased the illustrated edition, and the wonderful photos were well worth the extra cost. Hurley's photos illustrated the book in a way that no words could, and I found myself frequently turning back to review them.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Even knowing the ending, it's a page turner
    I'm a fan of survivalist accounts such as "Seven Years in Tibet," and "In the Heart of the Sea." And I loved this true account of the voyage/survival of Shackleton's crew in the Antarctic.

    Asking friends and relatives if they've read it, I've heard, "I started it, but I didn't want to see everyone die!" So here's the *spoiler...nobody dies! *

    The capacity of the human body to survive and of the human brain to figure out how to do it never ceases to amaze me.

    Lansing's account ingeniously pieces together journals of the men involved and includes riveting details without ever being too gory. Even knowing the ending, it's a page turner. I've heard that this is the most involving of all the accounts published...coming across more like a story and less a documentary.

    The images of the men on the ice have completely captivated me...the sounds and the movement. Be prepared to grab a blanket and a snack as you read (something not made of penguin)...you'll feel like you're there.

    5-0 out of 5 stars ICY Adventure
    this book is about how you SHOULD live!
    Go for it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Warning: You will not be able to put it down.
    I agree with many others this must be one of the greatest survival stories ever told. If you have read the The Longest Walk and found it to be a page turner you will not go wrong buying Endurance. And we know for sure that Endurance is all true. ... Read more


    2. The Endurance : Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
    by CAROLINE ALEXANDER
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375404031
    Catlog: Book (1998-11-03)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 3865
    Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Melding superb research and the extraordinary expedition photography of Frank Hurley, The Endurance by Caroline Alexander is a stunning work of history, adventure, and art which chronicles "one of the greatest epics of survival in the annals of exploration." Setting sail as World War I broke out in Europe, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, led by renowned polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, hoped to become the first to cross the Antarctic continent. But their ship, Endurance, was trapped in the drifting pack ice, eventually to splinter, leaving the expedition stranded on floes--a situation that seemed "not merely desperate but impossible."

    Most skillfully Alexander constructs the expedition's character through its personalities--the cast of veteran explorers, scientists, and crew--with aid from many previously unavailable journals and documents. We learn, for instance, that carpenter and shipwright Henry McNish, or "Chippy," was "neither sweet-tempered nor tolerant," and that Mrs. Chippy, his cat, was "full of character." Such firsthand descriptions, paired with 170 of Frank Hurley's intimate photographs, which are comprehensively assembled here for the first time, penetrate the hulls of the Endurance and these tough men. The account successfully reveals the seldom-seen domestic world of expedition life--the singsongs, feasts, lectures, camaraderie--so that when the hardships set in, we know these people beyond the stereotypical guise of mere explorers and long for their safety.

    Alexander reveals Shackleton as an inspiring optimist, "a leader who put his men first." Throughout the grueling ordeal, Shackleton and his men show what endurance and greatness are all about. The Endurance is a most intimate portrait of an expedition and of survival. Readers will possess a newfound respect for these daring souls, know better their unthinkable toil and half-forgotten realm of glory. --Byron Ricks ... Read more

    Reviews (134)

    5-0 out of 5 stars THE BEST BOOK!! YOU MUST READ IT!!
    The Endurance by Caroline Alexander is a non fiction book about an explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew as they try to become the first explorers to cross Antarctica on foot. Sir Ernest Shackleton was one of the most known polar explorers of his day. Shackleton and his crew of 27 set out to sea on his boat Endurance on August 8th, 1914. The 28 men went down to Buenos Aries, Argentina then they continued to their last stop South Georgia Island which is in the southern Atlantic before they went to the pack ice and beyond. Once they got the ship into the pack ice they followed the cracks between each floe (leads) to try to get to the main land of Antarctica. Do they ever get home to England? Do they all even survive such a journey? This book was a heart racing kind of book. If you previously were not interested in history books The Endurance might change your opinion. I was impressed by how these men risked their lives freezing to death just to obtain their personal goals. The adventure of when they have to abandon ship will leave you hanging from your seat. The way Caroline Alexander wrote the book was engulfing . Her detail was thorough and she must have put many months of research on their journey. She also used clips from journals telling in the sailor's words what was happening and what was going on in their minds. I have read a few books about sailing the sea and The Endurance was the best one because of the way in which it was written. The photographer Frank Hurley took unbelievable shots of the whole expedition. The types of photos that were taken included, black & white stills, movies and color slides. The photographs look like they were taken recently by a digital camera instead of a Kodak in the early 1900's. Technically the pictures are crisp and clear for surviving the 22-month journey. This is a book that should be in every school library and all public libraries so everyone can experience The Endurance.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Enduring photographs bring epic adventure into focus
    Caroline Alexander brings a wealth of information into this "last of heroic Antarctic adventures". What sets this book apart from the several others written on this subject is the broad scope of details provided. Each of the 28 characters are individually described in the beginning although for the most part the majority have a collective role in the success of the expedition. Yes success, as in 28 start, 28 survive. It really is hard to go wrong with such a great story. By focusing on the ship's cat Caroline comes dangerously close. The collection of the thoughts from members diaries brings the gravity of their situation to a level the reader can feel and fear. The book itself is beautifully printed, the numerous photographs hit the highlights the trip and are captioned in detail. Where Alfred Lansing's book ends on a romanticized high note, Caroline Alexander goes on to detail the fates of the mates after the expedition. Needless to say such a journey is the high water mark for displaying character in the most oppressive of situations. My advice is to buy it for your coffee table, for it is a beautiful book, but read Alfred Lansing's' Endurance accompanied by the Nov. 1998 National Geographic article (by Ms. Alexander) which includes the Frank Hurley photographs.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Don't Pass this one up!
    A REAL story told REALLY well.
    I listened to it on tape. One of my top five favorite books of all time. I would not have found it if my librarian hadn't suggested it. Couldn't put it down - If you are a man (or woman) in search of true adventure from days gone by then this is the book for you. This insanely difficult journey reveals the true character and spirit of these men in their effort just to stay alive. It feels like you are almost there with them, but glad that you aren't.
    A true vision quest.
    Buy it-
    Read it -
    Then give it to a friend - It's that GOOD!

    5-0 out of 5 stars First-rate
    This book is a first-rate telling of the Endurance story. Even better, the B&W photos are gorgeously reproduced, and Alexander tells some details of how they were taken and preserved.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent large format photos and introduction to Sir Ernest
    A great book to get if you have never read any others of this amazing adventure. The book is worth getting and provides all the basic information on the journey. But let me add a note about seeing the author at National Geographic Explorers Hall some years ago. I read that the author would be giving a lecture. Not knowing much at all about Shackelton, I marked my schedule and planned to attend. I figured I might be one of a handful of people there like most history book lectures in DC. When I showed up, the line to pick up tickets was going out the door. Worse, it was sold out. Hundreds and hundreds of seats sold out to see the author of this book. I was gracefully given an extra ticket from someone who saw my distress and happily discovered a lifelong historical passion. Perhaps a bit of that "Old Provdy" was at play as the ramifications of this adventure go far beyond 28 men in a boat. I had the fortune to touch the James Caird at the travelling exhibit and there is a magic in the oak that defies explanation. If you want to discover a world of providence, human endurance, unreasonable chance and amazing survival, let this be the first step. As the author of this book said at her lecture, she was once walking in Manhattan with a Shackleton book tucked under her arm when a man approached her on the sidewalk after seeing the book. Wide eyed and smiling, he looked at her and said a single word that meant, he too, was part of the faternity of the moved - "Shackelton!" he said, and walked on. It said all there was to say. ... Read more


    3. Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange and Menacing World of Antarctica
    by Nicholas Johnson, Eirik Sønneland
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.53
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0922915997
    Catlog: Book (2005-04)
    Publisher: Feral House
    Sales Rank: 95497
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    Book Description

    What goes on in Antarctica?

    Is it the pristine but harsh frontier where noble scientific missions are accomplished? Or an insane corporate bureaucracy where hundreds of workers are cooped together in hi-tech communes with all the soul of a suburban office park?

    Welcome to Big Dead Place, a grunt's eye view of America's Antarctic Program that shatters the well-worn clichés of polar literature. Here the heroic camaraderie and romantic desolation give way to sterile buildings populated by characters like a crazed manager who fills his boots with antifreeze, the greasepaint-obsessed worker Boozy the Clown, ghosts that haunt the food freezer, and horny employees who grab rare private moments coupling on the altar in the Chapel of the Snows.

    The Foreword is by Eirik Sønneland, who claims the longest unsupported ski trek in the continent's history. Also included is a glossary of Antarctic slang and bureaucratese, and 16 pages of color photographs. ... Read more


    4. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land
    by Subhankar Banerjee
    list price: $39.95
    our price: $25.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0898869099
    Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
    Publisher: Mountaineers Books
    Sales Rank: 18569
    Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    It is a land of pristine wilderness, pulsing with life even in the depths of white subzero winter. Entirely unscarred by roads or signs, it is the place in all Alaska where the polar bear most often prefers to den. It is host to more than 180 resident and migratory bird species that journey from six continents and all fifty states to nest and rear their young. Because of the massive herds of Porcupine caribou who converge upon the coastal plain to calve each spring, it is known as "the American Serengeti." To the Gwich'in people, who call the refuge their home, it is "The Sacred Place Where Life Begins."The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a touchstone for all people, one of the few remaining ecosystems on our planet unaltered by human impact, where true wilderness can still be experienced. But now the refuge is showing signs of global warming: immense McCall Glacier, measured to have lost more than thirty feet in depth in the last forty years; the northward march of the dwarf willow, moving at a pace not seen in 8,000 years; the alarming decline of the muskox, forced to forage where their calves are vulnerable to predators. And the refuge is further threatened by oil development, which would forever unravel the delicate pattern of nature found here. Award-winning photographer Subhankar Banerjee devoted two years of his life to documenting the land, its wild species, and its Native peoples. With Inupiat guide Robert Thompson, Banerjee traveled 4,000 miles through the refuge on foot and by raft, kayak, and snowmobile during all four seasons. With more than 200 breathtaking color images, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land makes this case: leaving the refuge intact in all its mysterious beauty is vital to the survival of this unique ecosystem. Banerjee's photos are paired with six essays and a foreword by former president Jimmy Carter. ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Why You Should Read This Book
    As an occasional visitor and fan of the high Arctic, I found the photographs of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in this book to be among the most beautiful images of the Arctic that I have seen -- whether with my own eyes or in pictures. The photographs of the land and wildlife as well as the accompanying essays by the photographer and some of the leading nature writers of our day, all speak eloquently for full protection of this great wilderness. In particular, that the controversial Coastal Plain area should be granted wilderness status and thus permanently protected from industrial development.

    In my opinion, this book is environmental advocacy in its finest form. As always, advocacy is controversial. Another "reviewer" of this book, Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, who is an avid supporter of oil drilling in the Refuge said in a Senate speech "This book is pure propaganda."

    Developing and preserving the more than 500 National Wildlife Refuges have been contentions political issues since Theodore Roosevelt established the first one in 1903. There have been continual battles between using the Refuges for activities such as mining, military exercises, grazing, and use of motorized vehicles and their primary purpose of protecting wildlife. In that sense, the ongoing ANWR debate is "simply" the latest and best known of a long series of struggles between development and conservation in the Refuges. (The recently published Smithsonian Book of National Wildlife Refuges contains an excellent account of this history.)

    The case for development can be quantified in terms of dollars and cents, jobs, and taxes to be collected. By contrast, the case for conservation is impossible to quantify. It depends on softer almost spiritual arguments -- demonstrating the value of natural beauty; understanding that preservation of the diversity of all species is almost certainly crucial to the preservation of our own, and preserving for future generations small portions of the planet untrammeled by man.

    Reconciling these objectives for the ANWR is ultimately a matter of judgement for it's guardians -- the American people and their elected representatives. To decide wisely we need to be informed about the land and the issues that surround it. Thus I encourage you to buy (or borrow from your library) this important book, read it, and share with your fellow citizens what you have learned.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Preaching to the Converted
    It's not too often that a book of nature photographs gets to fuel a congressional debate or lead to the Smithsonian being accused of being politicized but this book has done that.

    Subhankar Banerjee, an engineer from India, took these pictures because he wanted to move public opinion to save the coastal plain adjacent to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a wild place. This book was displayed on the floor of Congress by a debating Senator who agreed with Banerjee. Shortly thereafter the Smithsonian, which had scheduled a showing of Banerjee's pictures in the museum's main hall, moved the pictures to a far less desirable location and cut the captions to almost nothing. Accusations of political tampering have been flying fast and furious since then.

    There is little doubt that this is a book of advocacy. From the introduction by President Jimmy Carter to essays by the Pulitzer Prize winning nature writer Peter Matheson and bird artist Allen Sibley, among others, the book makes a plea for preservation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, with particular note of strong attacks on the refuge by forces supporting the petroleum industry.

    The various essays describing travels in the refuge will be of interest to those who enjoy reading about trips through the great outdoors, although you have to be ready for a big dose of anti-oil rhetoric. However, I expect that no one who reads this book will be a strong supporter of the energy industry, so that much of the writing will be preaching to the converted.

    I can be counted as supporting preservation of the refuge, and I'd love to give this book a high rating, but I thought there were far too many pages of essays and not enough pictures. And, ultimately I think this book must be judged by the author's photographs. Unfortunately the photos are of only of so-so quality.

    Some of Banerjee's shots are spectacular, like those of herds of oxen against the midnight sun. Others are as subtle as the textures of the refuge itself, like the pictures of lichens growing on rocks. But most of the pictures are straight forward record shots with little sophistication. They provide information but not inspiration. Banerjee is not a great photographic artist. If that's what you want get Art Wofe's book of highly saturated, incredibly composed photographs, "Alaska". Wolfe's picture of a single Dall Sheep looks majestic. Banerjee's looks, well, moth-eaten. Banerjee's shot of a herd of Dall Sheep is a bunch of sheep in a green field. Wolfe's is an environmental photo of a herd amongst precipitous mountains.

    If you want a book dedicated exclusively to the refuge, and you want to show support for the refuge, and it's not important that you have great pictures to inspire you, you may want this book. Otherwise, look elsewhere for great photography of the refuge.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, sad exhibition
    I bought this book because there was no other way to understand the photos that were on display at the Museum of Natural History. I was not alone; several people walked around Banerjee's exhibition with their books in hand. The curator had removed all descriptive labels, and the introductory plaque emphasized how small the Arctic refuge is compared to other such reserves throughout the country. The photos were mounted in a corridor leading to an elevator. It was poorly lit, and crowded with people passing through. It was in the back of the building, and hard to find. It was a startling contrast to the Eliot Porter exhibition in one of the main exhibition halls above the ground floor. That exhibition was well designed, well described, and included copies of books like "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson, hardly a neutral text. The only message I could take away was that environmentalism is "safe" to the Smithsonian curators only when it's at least 30 or 40 years old.

    The treatment of Banerjee's photos was so troublesome that Congress held hearings on the matter. But no news report could compare to the feeling of being there, near the elevator.

    I took the book home with me, trying to understand whether or not the poor installation was due to poor material or to poor museum administration. Banerjee's photos, and the stories and writings around the photos, are greatly compelling. The story of how hard he worked to get those photos, and of how in the process, he became a better photographer, stood out to me. I highly recommend the book, but I hope I have helped some enthusiasts know just how controversial the notion of natural beauty can be, and how the Smithsonian does play politics. Apparently, reading Banerjee's book can be considered an act of protest.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Entire US Congress Should read this Book
    The entire US Congress should read this book before voting to allow oil drilling in ANWAR. The pictures alone make this book worth owning. I am ordering another copy for my daughter in Boston and will share my copy at a family reunion in April. It will be an important part of my extensive library.

    5-0 out of 5 stars captures the essence and grandeur
    I am struck not only by the photographs but also the essays that convey just a sprinkling of what the ANWR is really like. But, what a sprinkling. I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the ANWR and many photographs are ones from places I haved hiked and people I have met. Many of the rivers shown are rivers I have been on. What I have not done is been there in the truly cold times and his photographs and words do great justice to those times. The drawbacks are few and perhaps it is nitpicking but there is a concentration of pictures taken on the Hula Hula. While the Hula Hula is a wonderful river to do, the Jago covers the heart of the calving grounds and the pictures there were in short supply. However, the pictures are inspiring and the only thing not captured is the sense of vastness that one gets setting foot in the ANWR. But, I have never seen a photograph that can capture that. For those who may never set foot in the ANWR, or even for those who have been there, this book is a must add to anyone's collection. The book does make me want to seek out the hot spring on the Okpilak River, however.
    Kongakut, Icy Reef, Bernard Spit, Jago, Hula Hula, Kaktovik, Arctic Village, the bird life and animal life --all places I have been and things I have seen, and a wonderful book with which to revisit those places. ... Read more


    5. Midnight Wilderness
    by Debbie S. Miller
    list price: $19.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0871567156
    Catlog: Book (1990-03-24)
    Publisher: Random House, Inc.
    Sales Rank: 654677
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    MIDNIGHT WILDERNESS is a passionate and vivid account of one of Alaska's greatest natural treasures: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest and most pristine wilderness region set aside in the United States. Author Debbie Miller draws on her thirteen years of exploring this unique, magical, and expansive territory, weaving personal anecdotes, chilling adventures, wildlife observations, and Native issues.

    Twenty years ago, Debbie Miller moved to northern Alaska to teach in Arctic Village, one of the state's most isolated communities. She and her husband have hiked and kayaked more than a thousand miles in the refuge. A free-lance journalist, Miller has won many awards for her work. She has been published in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including Alaska magazine and Alaska Geographic, and is the author of several award winning books for children, including FLIGHT OF THE GOLDEN PLOVER, published by Alaska Northwest Books(tm). She lives in Fairbanks. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    3-0 out of 5 stars a passionate plea for wilderness preservation of the ANWR
    The book jacket states the book is a passionate and vivid account of her trips into the ANWR, and it certainly is that.Having been in many of the same places, and even flown with some of the same people, I can make an immediate connection with her book.This book is a first person account, not a naturalist documentation.Some of her trials and tribulations make for very interesting reading, and makes one glad sometimes that they did not have to trek in some of the places.Her account of some of her hiking in the rugged Romanzof mountains sent chills up my spine.A weakness perhaps is after almost each description, she states what is at risk by allowing drilling.Sometimes that gets in the way of the journey.However, the last section of the book outlines the history of the preservation attempts, and the very real dangers of oil development to such an unspoiled wilderness.This book is a personal account and not a detail as to the intricate inter-relationships among the flora and fauna, and it was not meant to be.I enjoyed the book for what it is, and that is a personal story.I wished she had described in a bit more detail her time in the arctic when the colors started to appear as fall approached.Having been along the Jago River in the 1002 lands at the height of the fall colors, it is something that cannot be imagined in advance.One can never believe such a landscape of apparent green can take on so many colors.A perfect companion book to this would be that of E. C. Pielou, A Naturalists Guide to the Arctic.With Pielou's book, one can gain a fuller understanding of the tricks of light in the arctic, and the interdependency of the animals with the plantlife.Oil company executives will not like this book.Most others will enjoy reading her accounts.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Journey into ANWR
    I love Debbie Miller's book Midnight Wilderness about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.Her journal writings, with detailed land references, eloquently paint a portrait of this pristine area and how unique and beautiful this remote land is. I enjoyed reading about all the animals and birds that live and migrate there every year, and about the people who depend on this area. This book educates us on the oil development controversy and why it is vital we continue to fight in protecting this special land for now and future generations. This book is truly the ultimate reference book for the Arctic Refuge and I highly recommend it to all.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Superb Account of Wilderness Adventure
    Debbie Miller draws from her journal and from her heart as she recounts her explorations of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the last great wilderness area left in the United States.Few people have actually stepped foot on this northeast corner of Alaska, but by reading the words of Miller, one can be transported to this rare and magical place.The book, written primarily during the 1980s and updated in the current edition, is informative and inspiring.She effectively intersperses relevant historical and scientific facts with her own personal observations and love for the region.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Awe-inspiring account of America's Far North
    I have just read Midnight Wilderness and found it to be a compelling account of the mystery and majesty of America's Far North. The authors transports the reader to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge enabling our mind's eye to experience vicariously the splendor of its fauna and flora. As I put this book down, I see the awesome Porcupine Caribou herd thundering across the summertime coastal plain, semipalmated sandpipers, musk-oxen, Dall sheep, wolves, Pacific loons, Lapland longspurs, snowy owls, tundra swans, and arctic foxes. Now more clearly than ever before I see the connections between and among the Arctic's wild and pristine physical and living communities. And, I feel compelled as never before to add my voice to those of the many others who understand why this awe-inspiring wilderness that is unequalled anywhere else on earth should be protected and preserved for future generations.

    1-0 out of 5 stars An big disappointment!
    I am planning a trip to the ANWR Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and I hoped to gain insight about the region from the experiences of another.I expected to read about the wonders of the ANWR.What I found was a book that was full of negative advertisements to save the ANWR. Debbie Miller definitely is passionate about the ANWR and her book is the story of her crusade to save it. When she does tell of her journeys throughout the ANWR her story becomes sidetracked by her save the ANWR chant.The book fell short of my expectations. ... Read more


    6. Where Mountains Are Nameless: Passion and Politics in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
    by Jonathan Waterman
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393052192
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-09)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 51763
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    Book Description

    A passionate tale of Alaskan exploration and discovery in North America's most controversial wildlife refuge.

    The nineteen-million-acre Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) contains three to eight billion barrels of crude oil. Conservationists and developers have fought bitterly over the land for the last half-century, an era in which petroleum has virtually come to define Alaska. Struggling to combat the big-money politics that threaten ANWR, the conservation efforts of one couple, Olaus and Mardy Murie, have made them legendary.

    Jonathan Waterman blends historical narrative with vivid tales of his journeys into the Arctic, creating tension between past and present, science and politics, reflection and investigation. Since 1983, he has taken eighteen trips into the far North, trekking and paddling thousands of miles and encounteringhowling wolves, Inupiat hunters, and the oil-ravaged Prince William Sound. Where Mountains Are Nameless explores how oil exploration has choked Alaska's pristine wilderness and also traces the lives of the celebrated Muries. This memorable portrait makes the stakes over ANWR vividly clear. 3 maps, 23 illustrations. ... Read more


    7. Lonely Planet Greenland & The Arctic (Lonely Planet Travel Guides)
    by Etain O'Carroll, Mark Elliott
    list price: $26.99
    our price: $17.81
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1740590953
    Catlog: Book (2005-06-01)
    Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
    Sales Rank: 83449
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    Book Description

    Kayak past towering icebergs, dog-sled frozen tundra to picture-postcard villages, marvel at the midnight sun or dancing northern lights - Greenland and the Arctic are the perfect backdrop to an unforgettable experience.Whether you crave quiet solitude or bold adventure, this inspiring and practical guide takes you to the heart of the cold north.

    • EXPLORING MADE EASY - slumber in colorful cottages, dine on reindeer or sail the coast in style, with our extensive, practical listings

    • PLAN YOUR ADVENTURE - inspiring itineraries for exploring the Arctic Circle, from Lapland to Deadhorse, Nuuk to the North Pole

    • GET BENEATH THE SURFACE - topical coverage of cultural and environmental issues affecting the region, with chapters on indigenous peoples and Arctic research projects

    • AMAZING ENDEAVORS - from Norse voyages to legendary explorers, storybrook adventures uncovered in our dedicated history and exploration chapters ... Read more


    8. Three Among the Wolves: A Couple and Their Dog Live a Year With Wolves in the Wild
    by Helen Thayer
    list price: $22.95
    our price: $15.61
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1570613982
    Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
    Publisher: Sasquatch Books
    Sales Rank: 20540
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Three Among the Wolves is a highly readable true-life adventure tale combined with a fascinating natural history of the wolf. Helen and Bill Thayer, accompanied by their part-wolf, mostly Husky dog, Charlie, set out on foot to live among wild wolf packs - first in the Canadian Yukon and then in the Arctic. They eventually set up camp within 100 feet of a wolf den, and are greeted with apprehension at first. They establish trust over time, because the wolves accept Charlie as the alpha male of the newly arrived "pack." The Thayers discover the complexities of wolf family structure, including how pups are reared and how the injured are tenderly cared for. They view the intricacies of the hunt firsthand - how ravens direct wolves to prey in exchange for carrion - as well as the wolves' finely honed survival skills and engaging playfulness. Readers observe the ways Helen and Bill model pack behavior and how they address an unforeseen event: the Arctic wolves attempt to lure Charlie to join them. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Remarkable----Page Turner
    A true story of two people, their wolf-dog and their amazing adventures with wild wolves in Canada's far north tundra and frozen ocean.
    Helen Thayer, a recipient of many awards and honored by the White House, is a veteran world wide explorer over many years. She and her husband explore the world's remote places seeking material to add to their highly successful educational programs which I and fellow educators nationwide use in classrooms.
    Her writing and lectures have inspired people of all ages in many countries. I had the pleasure of meeting this dynamic 66 year old, five feet two inch woman after she spoke at a national corporate convention in Florida.
    This is a true life experience of living among wild wolf packs in which Charlie, her Inuit dog who once saved her life from a polar bear attack, is the story's star. Just as POLAR DREAM was, this new book is well written with vivid description that takes you on this remarkable journey. This very different approach to wolf study is a welcome addition to our knowledge of these animals. We see the close relationship of many species of animals sharing wild wolf habitat, and at times depending on each other.
    Her first book, POLAR DREAM, tells of her adventure with Charlie when she became the first woman to walk alone pulling her own sled without dog teams or snowmobiles to the Magnetic North Pole.
    This exciting story and THREE AMONG THE WOLVES are on the same informative, page turning level. The observation of wild wolf family life, their ability to adjust their survival skills, the raising of the pups and even the concern over an injured family member show close observation and remarkable intuitive understanding of wolf behavior. Of course beloved part-wolf Charlie is the reason for the success of the year long project as the author readily acknowledges.
    The story is fast moving and flows smoothly from one chapter to the next. Also beautifully descriptive, compassionate and in places humerous. The numerous photos add to the account. A valuable addition to the story are the descriptions of the various animals the Thayers' encountered who share wolf habitat. An excellent addition to anyones book shelf.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Read
    I collect books about wolves. This book is different with a new perspective both fascinating and informative.The author, explorer Helen Thayer,her explorer husband, and their Inuit dog Charlie of the best selling book, "Polar Dream" fame,(the author's book about her first ever by a woman to walk alone to the magnetic North Pole)lived a year with wild wolves above the Arctic Circle summer and winter. The author tells us "it would have been impossible without Charlie.He was the bridge we needed to cross the gap that allowed us to live alongside wolves and share their lives."
    Charlie, part wolf, was quickly accepted. His human pack was accepted shortly afterward. The affectionate nature of wolves, their interaction with other animal species, even polar bears, that's not well documented elsewhere, is truly enlightening. The escapades of the mishievious pups are adorable as is their care and teaching by the adults.
    The amusing episodes, the highly emotional times and the valuable information makes this book a winner. Beautifully written, vivid description, allows the reader to share this amazing and unique experience.
    The reader soon knows each wolf, its personality, and its role in family life as if the reader were right there with the author.
    A true winner in wolf literature. ... Read more


    9. Birds of Southern South America and Antarctica.
    by Martin R. de la Pena, Maurice Rumboll
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0691090351
    Catlog: Book (1998)
    Publisher: Princeton University Press
    Sales Rank: 20992
    Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    South America, though home to about one-third of the world's bird species and twice as many endemic families of birds as any other continent, has the world's sparsest population of birdwatchers. Birds of Southern South America and Antarctica illustrates and describes all the known species--more than 1,000 of them--in a vast swath of this underexplored birder's paradise, from Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, southern Brazil, and Uruguay to parts of Antarctica. Just some of the birds it covers are teals, tinamous, chachalacas, conebills, cuckoos, macaws, parakeets, parrots, penguins, nightjars, hummingbirds, ovenbirds, tyrants, and tanagers. The habitats range from torrid rainforests and cloudforests to grasslands, the world's driest desert, second highest mountain range, and ice caps.

    The 97 color plates depict each species' male in breeding plumage, with the female and young often shown as well. On the facing page are concise textual descriptions of each species, highlighting not only salient physical features and behavioral patterns but the calls or songs of each. Casual birders and ornithologists contemplating a journey to the region, or simply interested in a one-volume overview of its bird life, will not want to miss this book.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    4-0 out of 5 stars a good guide for visiting birders
    This guide is good; probably the best available for the region. The birders I ran into (even a park ranger) had this guide. It is a convenient size, fitting easily in my cargo-shorts pockets while both hands held my binoculars. It describes most of species (I found a few exceptions, eg. Gray Gull, but it is fairly complete). I did find that some of the illustrations were somewhat simplistic. More detailed descriptions would be useful, but could also negatively affect the weight of the book. I used it in Parque Nacional Iguazu and los Esteros del Ibera, and it served its purpose well.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A good guide for a beginner
    It was the first time for me in South America, so I didn't know nothing about the birds there. I had the chance to find this guide, which helped me very much, thanks to the good figures. The text is a little bit poor, but for a beginner it's enough. For some families like the Furnariids and the Tyrannids the figures weren't always good for recognising the species in the field. But, in general, I found this guide very useful and the best between all other guides of the region which I saw.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A good guide
    It was the first time for me in South America, so I didn't know nothing about the birds there. I had the chance to find this guide, which helped me very much, thanks to the good figures. The text is a little bit poor, but for a beginner it's enough. For some families like the Furnariids and the Tyrannids the figures weren't always good for recognising the species in the field. But, in general, I found this guide very useful and the best between all other guides of the region which I saw.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
    (From Planeta magazine) - Every bird species you may come across in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruaguay and southern Boliva and Brazil is described here, with more than 1,000 species illustrated in color. The text compliments the visuals, providing info about habitat, sounds and identification features. Excellent! ... Read more


    10. The Complete Guide to Antarctic Wildlife : Birds and Marine Mammals of the Antarctic Continent and the Southern Ocean
    by Hadoram Shirihai
    list price: $49.50
    our price: $32.67
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0691114145
    Catlog: Book (2002-09-16)
    Publisher: Princeton University Press
    Sales Rank: 48828
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    Book Description

    The first of its kind, this spectacularly illustrated book is the only complete guide to the wildlife and natural history of the vast and beautiful Antarctic region.

    Covering the Antarctic continent, the southern ocean, and the subantarctic islands, this guide illustrates all of the region's breeding birds and marine mammals with stunning color photographs. In addition to the color plates, it features distribution maps and up-to-date species accounts expertly detailing abundance, seasonal status, and conservation prospects. The volume also covers numerous nonbreeding species, migrants, and vagrants.

    Regional chapters describe all of the subantarctic islands, in addition to most regularly visited sites in Antarctica, and are accompanied by maps of each area and photographs of each locale. These chapters present detailed information on geography, climate, geology, general ecology, and flora. They also address conservation efforts--past, present, and planned. The book concludes with practical information about visiting the area, including details on the best-available landing sites and notes on seasonal weather conditions.

    This is an indispensable companion for a trip far south, as well as an informative volume for anyone interested in the Antarctic region's remarkable, occasionally strange, and frequently beautiful animals.


      *

      Features 35 color plates and over 600 color photographs
      *

      Illustrates and maps the distribution of all of the region's breeding birds and marine mammals
      *

      Includes information on many non-breeders, migrants, and vagrants
      *

      Features expert text reflecting recent advances in taxonomy
      *

      Covers all of the subantarctic islands as well as Antarctica's regularly visited sites
      *

      Offers travel tips, including weather considerations and landing sites

    ... Read more

    11. Poles Apart: Parallel Visions of the Arctic and Antarctic
    by Galen A. Rowell, Galen Rowell
    list price: $45.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0520201744
    Catlog: Book (1995-10-01)
    Publisher: University of California Press
    Sales Rank: 419585
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The harsh beauty of the polar regions has long fascinatedexplorersand armchair adventurers alike. The forbidding terrain and exotic life- formsappeal to our sense of wonder, and while we may think of them assimilar, theArctic and Antarctic are as unlike as Kansas and Kenya. In Poles Apart,GalenRowell takes us on an exhilarating visual journey to the top and thebottom ofthe world, using his camera to reveal the fascinating differences inthese polaropposites. In Part I, Rowell's side-by-side photographs highlight the contrastsbetweenNorth and South. The photo essays of Part II continue the comparisons,developing such themes as Arctic and Antarctic science, polar bears andpenguins, and visits to the North and South Poles. Part III providesdetailedinformation on the story behind each photograph as well as technicaldata ofinterest to photographers. Galen Rowell is known for choosing subjects that, while beautiful, areunfamiliar to much of his audience. Yet his books enjoy wide appealbecause heaccurately focusesin images and wordson the essential spirit that setshissubjects apart from the rest of the world. So it is with the distantlands andseas of the polar regions, which hold valuable lessons for all of usconcerningevolution, geology, history, human endeavor, and the impact of humangreed. Noother vast areas of the earth remain as pristine, and for Rowell, theArctic andAntarctic have become metaphors for those intangible elements thatdefine theearth's wild places. In a world fast becoming a theme park of artificialexperience, his book is an invitation to understand and appreciate whatis real. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars GREENLAND REVISTED THROUGH A LITTLE DANE'S EYES.
    Turning to page 74, my Danish-born wife, Aino, was amazed to discover her little town of Scoresbysund. She spent her fomative years(age 5-12)growing up there, where her father, Dr. Werner Mortensen, served as the sole doctor for the area of 3 villages.

    Galen Rowell's photography captures the typical beauty of a Scandinavian mileau, even though it is truly a facade for the garbage that the typical native Greenlander casts no further than his front door!

    His words portray the many problems of the native Inuits, who have been unable to adapt to the influence of Danish culture and progress. For Rowell to elaborate on the problems of alcholism, violent crime, and the high rate of suicide in a village of only 500, distinguishes him as an author that researchs his subjects quite well! It brought back memories for my wife of the "Grundlander" that beat his wife with the carcass of a frozen seal, only to have his wife bite of his ear.

    The large yellow building in the left foreground is the eight bed hospital; the little red house with white trimmed windows that is over to the immediate left is where family Mortensen grew up from 1966-72. This book really takes my wife back,and helps me see things that were only in her mind's eye. It also brings her up to the what the present day Scoresbysund has become. And now that my family will be moving to Fairbanks,Alaska, my wife can get a sneak preview of our future from this marvelous book. Having lived in Alaska myself, I definitely recommend this book for its shear splendid photography and candid commentary. Great job Galen!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Experience the stunning beauty of the Earth's poles!
    This is much more than a coffee table book, though its unique photographs of the pristine beauty of the Arctic and Antarctic would impress even the most casual of browsers. A short story about each photo is included, along with more general, thoughtful and poignant commentary from someone that is truly in touch with the global environment. Rowell is one of the great nature photographers, and this is a stunning collection ... Read more


    12. Mitsuaki Iwago's Penguins
    by Mitsuaki Iwago
    list price: $19.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0811814408
    Catlog: Book (1997-01-01)
    Publisher: Chronicle Books
    Sales Rank: 273209
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    One suspects Mitsuaki Iwago is really a penguin in disguise--for it is hard to picture a Homo sapien getting close enough to these birds to get the pictures he does, without donning top hat, white tie, and tails. Where other wildlife photographers keep a respectful distance from their prey, Iwago is on intimate terms with them. There are some very unusual photos in this book as a result--penguins jumping in the ocean like dolphins; parents regurgitating squid and feeding it to their young; a chick in transition to adulthood, much of his chest still covered with dark feathers. ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars brrrr....
    Look through this and imagine what the climate must have been while photographing these animals. Remember that the author didn't just shoot a roll or two of film and head out-this is the result of a great deal of time shooting many, MANY rolls of film in freezing temperatures. The photos are wonderful-I just wish that there had been some informative text on the penguins. Penguin books are not very easy to come by-this one would be a great addition to anybody's library that may be interested in penguins.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Penguins
    Penguins book by Mitsuaki Iwagos, is considered one of the best photo books of these unique animal that live in Antarctica. Mitsuaki Iwagos in my opinion is considered one of the top nature photographers. He shows us the life of penguins in general their way of life children care and protection, and the defense of severe climatic conditions of Antarctica massive assembling which draws the attention and stir your eyes in addition to summarized notes. It is a book that recounts the life of penguins in elegant and eye- catching manner. In addition the photos included in this book gives you clear significance and meaning of life on Antarctica . So I recommend this book for those who love natural photos and Antarctica in general.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!
    Allot a special, private time for yourself with this book! Only by allowing yourself the time to savor each photograph will you go on the special journey Mitsuaki Iwago has in store for you. His play with the contrasts of the light and darks of penguins and and their environment is bliss. I am a penquin afficianado, and was totally thrilled by this sensitive and delightful presentation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is a beautiful book!
    A great way to spend the afternoon. Photographs show all aspects of penguin life. Stunning, interesting. Good commentary as well. ... Read more


    13. North to the Night : A Spiritual Odyssey in the Arctic
    by ALVAH SIMON
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 076790446X
    Catlog: Book (1999-09-14)
    Publisher: Broadway
    Sales Rank: 57208
    Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (54)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Man tests endurance through an arctic year.
    Sometimes the subtitles of books are important and sometimes they aren't. For this book, the subtitle, "A Spiritual Odyssey in the Arctic", is right on the money. About 20% of the text either describes or analyzes the spiritual side of Alvah Simon's year in the arctic.

    Although this book is enjoyable to read and describes a great feat of survival adventure, the spiritual aspects can get dull and repetitive. The author mentions again and again that he is forced to believe that a "guiding hand" prevents careless or accidental mistakes from killing him, sinking his boat or otherwise doing damage to body, mind or spirit. However, one has to wonder about other less lucky individuals who had become convinced a guiding hand was protecting them when a final careless accident took them and their newfound belief system off the face of the planet.

    Mr. Simon should be applauded for at least being honest. When he makes a mistake he lays it out there for you to read about it. Other writers avoid honesty, for fear they will look smaller in the reader's eye. Mr. Simon's honesty only makes him more appealing as a person and underlines the fact that someone used to adventures who is prepared in every way imaginable and is intelligent to boot can still goof up. In Mr. Simon's case he lives to tell the tale, whether this is a guiding hand or not is ultimately left up to the reader to decide, but the author does all he can to pound home the depth of his spiritual odyssey in the arctic.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thrilling journey to a remote landscape.
    This book grabbed me with powerful sensory details and wouldn't let me put it down. Each adventure of Alvah, Diana and Halifax revealed something of the common journey we each share, whether in the arctic wilderness or in an urban highrise. I love the interactions between the Simons and the Inuit people, and the other living creatures who inhabit this ice-chilled realm. The author clearly has explored some of the wildest places on Earth, and makes a plea to preserve our natural habitats. A must-read for anyone who longs for adventure on the high seas, minus the storms and sea-sickness.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Searching for one's soul
    Magnificently written, Alvah Simon's riveting account of an Arctic winter spent alone is a wonderful demonstration of the strength of man's will when put to the test. With only a kitten as a companion, Simon delves into the deepest reaches of the human psyche in his search for spiritual meaning and definition. Simon delivers a compelling tale of encounters with monstrous blizzards, temporary blindness, polar bears, and the inspirational Inuit people, all the while slowly creeping towards insanity. His survival and salvation lie with the sole desire to see his wife, Diana. A pleasure and thrill to read, Simon reveals his personal philosophy on the meaning of life, parting the Arctic night with only a 36' sailboat, a cat, and his inner being.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Romance, Passion, Travel, Humor, and Hardship!
    This book has it all. I could not put it down until I had gotten all the way through. This is one of the most satisfying travel books I have ever read. It is definitely the best book about Arctic travel on the market!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Could be my all-time favorite book
    I don't like sailing. I don't like to be cold. I cannot imagine locking myself up in a boat in the dark Arctic for more than about 3 hours. I'm not even a guy! However, I love this book. It has everything. Romance, adventure, humor, intrigue -- and it's TRUE. I read A LOT of books. I know a good story. This is a GREAT one. ... Read more


    14. Arctic Dreams : Imagination And Desire In A Northern Landscape
    by BARRY LOPEZ
    list price: $13.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0553346644
    Catlog: Book (1988-12-01)
    Publisher: Bantam
    Sales Rank: 373601
    Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Based on 15 extended trips to the Canadian far north over a five-year period, Arctic Dreams celebrates the mysteries of what documentarians fondly call "last frontiers." Such places are everywhere in danger of destruction in the interest of ever-elusive economic progress, but Lopez writes no jeremiads. Instead, he aims to foster a kind of learned understanding of wild places, in this case the vast, scarcely knowable northern landscape. Writing of the natural history of the Arctic and its inhabitants--narwhals, polar bears, beluga whales, musk oxen, and caribou among them--Lopez draws powerful lessons from the land and imparts them assuredly and gracefully. Arctic Dreams deservedly won a National Book Award in 1986 when it was first published. ... Read more

    Reviews (19)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Celebration Of The Arctic Landscape & Man's Dreams!
    "Arctic Dreams" was recommended to me by a friend before I went on an Alaskan adventure a few years ago. This book expanded my vision of nature, and turned me on to the exquisite writing of Barry Lopez, who won the 1986 National Book Award for this classic work on the wild regions of the far north. "Arctic Dreams" is an extraordinary celebration of Arctic life and landscape which takes the reader on a journey to places rarely visited by man. Lopez' narrative does have a dreamlike quality, not only in its descriptions of nature at its most surreal, but in the absolute beauty of the writing itself. He does indeed capture the foreign reality of Arctic life, and death, with the loving care of an artist who places each brushstroke carefully on a canvas, bent on bringing the vision before him to others.

    Mr. Lopez made a number of extended trips to Siberia, Greenland, and northern Canada, including Baffin Island, to observe the flora and fauna of the region - polar bears, killer whales, caribou, narwhals - as well as the spectacular Arctic landscape. He experienced eerie encounters with the aurora borealis, massive migrating icebergs, solar and lunar light, halos and coronas. And he experienced both the potential for catastrophic danger and the remarkable beauty that the Arctic land and sea offers. "Spring storms can sweep hundreds of thousands of helpless infant harp seals into the sea" - juxtaposed with, "A tiny flower blooms in a field of snow touched by the sun's benevolent light." Through Mr. Lopez' eyes the breathtaking experience of the Arctic landscape and the people who inhabit it become palpably real. I was particularly moved by his intimate and compassionate descriptions of the indigenous people of this region, who so aptly illustrate how mankind is capable of living in harmony with his surroundings. Lopez' prose and his conclusions make the strongest argument possible to work for the ecological health of our planet, for the sake of life itself, and for the health of our imagination and sense of wonder at the magnificent.

    As mankind grows closer to conquering the earth's last frontiers, the issue of exploitation and encroachment becomes greater. For anyone who advocates preserving the few remaining wild areas on our planet, "Arctic Dreams" is a welcome gift and a source of motivation. It also provides an extraordinary read, and, perhaps, an awakening to those who have shown little interest in earth's most mysterious places.

    This is a magical book that will enchant and awe the reader. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Bravo, Barry Lopez!
    JANA

    5-0 out of 5 stars Barry Sold Me
    Barry Lopez probably does not think of himself as a salesman but his book, "Artic Dreams: Imagination & Desire in a Northern Landscape" sold me on the artic. It caused me to spend most of a whiplashp settlement on a fishing trip to Alaska.

    Barry Lopez's prose has gem-like quality to it. It begs to be read aloud, like poetry. He makes us all realize what a treasure this last frontier is, and how vital it is that we preserve it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Desert Island book
    Funny that a book about the Arctic would be on my "Desert Island" list, but this is one of the most effecting things I've read in my life. It's one thing to write a book about a region that explains it to the reader. It's quite another thing to write a book about a region that truly makes you feel as if you are there, that you understand it, that you "get it". The Eskimos have something like 25 words for snow. They can draw incredibly detailed maps of coastlines, from memory. On and on, the people and places are introduced to you, like visitors to your home, and you really begin to understand what it is to live in such a cold, beautiful place. The story of one Eskimo hunter will never leave me: he was hunting, and somehow became stranded on a broken off piece of ice. It floated away, with him on it, into the mist. All he had was his knife, made of bone. His friends searched for him, to no avail, and he was given up for dead. But he came back, years later, in a kayak he'd made, fully outfitted with warm clothes he'd also made, fat and happy and completely in tune with his environment, absolutely as at home there as the polar bear. He could make everything he needed, just from what this supposedly "barren" wasteland provided. That may not sound like much, but put yourself in his shoes (or mukluks) and you'll begin to feel the cold and the quiet close in around you.

    That's what this book does for you. It puts you there.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fine writing
    An account of the American Arctic based on the author's own travels and a survey of the biology, ecology and history of the region. There is a tree-hugging, save-the-endangered-species,motif. (Don't get me wrong -I love trees and whales and things). He is rather solemn and philosophical with a lot of fine writing about the wonders of nature lifting us above the mundane. Sometimes he falls into the traps of fine writing, such as impressive long lists of plants, birds and animals, and misuse of words such as "mesic" and "adumbrate". It is a mine of information which I suppose is mostly accurate although I hadn't heard before that Walsingham was a duke or that Vitus Bering was a Dutchman.
    I had mixed feelings aout his attiude towards the Eskimos. His account idealizes the nomadic hunting existence and it is sometimes unclear whether he is talking about present-day Inuit or drawing upon older accounts. He only once mentions alcohol as a problem and does not mention disputes with other native Americans, even when desribing Hearne's travels.
    The description is largely limited to America and the bibliography has no Russian sources. He often uses Inuit words but his review of Arctic prehistory draws only on archeological evidence and is weak on linguistics and says nothing about the Chukchi language and Asian-American language links. DNA and blood groups are not mentioned.
    I wouldn't make all those niggling criticisms about what got left out if the book did not set itself a high standard of comprehensiveness. It's virtually a one volume encyclopedia of the Arctic full of fascinating facts, vivid firsthand accounts, and splendid writing.
    By the way, one arctic question's been bugging me since I was ten years old (the teacher didn't know the answer then and Lopez doesn't have it). What time is it at the North Pole?

    5-0 out of 5 stars I wish someone could write about Australia like this!
    Of all the books I've read on the artcic and antarctic, this stands out for its absolute precision of description. To see a landscape with Lopez' eyes, you would have to spend a lot of time looking, and absorbing what you saw, until you knew every inch of it with your eyes shut. So it's appropriate that when he describes things, the descriptions take time to write, they are precise, and thorough, and need to be read slowly. Any less would not convey the strangeness and unfamiliarity of the place. Lopez reminded me that many times, a day's aimless wandering about, just thinking about what you see, has as great a value as a day seeing the sights.
    My edition has no photos, which is appropriate as the verbal description is superb. If you read this book, keep the internet handy, to use search engines to find photos of the places he and things he writes about. It's like having a limitless dictionary to hand, and with subject matter as unfamiliar as this, it helps tremendously. One could say that the book was 25 years ahead of its time. ... Read more


    15. Antarctica: A Guide to the Wildlife, 3rd (Bradt Guides)
    by Tony Soper
    list price: $19.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 184162019X
    Catlog: Book (2001-01-01)
    Publisher: Bradt Travel Guides
    Sales Rank: 31624
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The storm-tossed Southern Ocean and the inhospitable landscape of Antarctica combine to form one of the last true wildernesses on earth. They are also home to vast numbers of animals, from the tiny shrimps of the zooplankton to the penguins, albatrosses, seals and great whales for which this extraordinary region is justly famed. In this fully revised edition of Antarctica: A Guide to the Wildlife, Dafila Scott's sensitive illustrations combine with Tony Soper's lively text to create a unique guide and a book that will give lasting pleasure. Whether you are a dedicated naturalist or an expedition member in search of a deeper understanding of the continent, this is the ideal companion. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great, portable guide
    I bought this book in preparation for a trip 'South' in December 1999/January 2000 and it was an extremely useful guide to wildlife in general but especially good for penguin information. The drawings by an ancestor of Robert F. Scott's are lifelike, and engaging art as well. The brief summaries of natural and exploration history are accessible and informative. If you are looking for a portable guide to peninsular wildlife get the book--you won't regret it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A good, portable guide to commonly seen Antarctic wildlife
    If you are visiting the Antarctic Peninsula and nearby islands, this guide is a good field guide to identifying, and learning about, the most common Antarctic fauna you will experience, including birds, mammals and cetaceans. (It is not a comprehensive guide for htose desiring in depth information and identification of every species.) José Kirchner ... Read more


    16. Lonely Planet Antarctica (Lonely Planet Antarctica)
    by Jeff Rubin
    list price: $24.99
    our price: $16.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1740590945
    Catlog: Book (2005-01-15)
    Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
    Sales Rank: 150772
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Ready for the adventure of a lifetime?Gape at the icebergs looming over your ship, stand awestruck in the midst of a teeming penguin colony, or glimpse a minke whale surfacing next to your Zodiac - Antarctica will astound and transform you.Written by authors with intimate knowledge of the region, this bestselling guide is your essential companion to The Ice.

    • GET THE INSIDE SCOOP - loads of specialist contributions by experts in Antarctica's history, ecology and scientific research

    • GO WILD - know your albatross from your snow petrel with our comprehensive wildlife section

    • GET THERE - choose the best tour, expedition or flyover with our detailed transportation chapter

    • FIND YOUR WAY - 52 detailed maps to help you keep your bearings

    • TALK THE TALK - handy glossary of unique Antarctic slang and terminology ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A truly great achievement up to LP standards, and even more
    This book from Lonely Planet is, as always, the ultimate choice of guidebook for travelers.It provides excellent and up-to-date information which any type of traveler will find invaluable.Despite the fact that Antarctica is probably the least visited of the many regions of the world covered by LP, the authors have managed to put together an outstanding agglomeration of data and advice, well edited and excellently written.But... furthermore, on top of being an excellent travel book, this LP guide is also (like many other LP guides, but even more outstandingly) a great book about Antarctica's reality: the place itself, the peculiar or unique characters of this wonderful land, etc.Truly wonderful material is provided in this book, ensuring excellent reading for the armchair traveler, or the Antarctica beginner alike.Its many chapters and additional text boxes about a variety of topics, contain and provide extremely rich information on matters from history to politics, from geography to biology.All in all, a masterpiece.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The next best thing to being in Antarctica
    Lonely Planet have been setting the standards for travel guide-books for anumber of years now.

    Jeff Rubin's guide-book to Antarctica is a treasure,first of all because guide-books on Antarctica are still very rare indeed,secondly because it is exhaustively comprehensive in its detail and yet soreadable.

    Antarctica is a unique place.The last true wildernessremaining on earth. A land where diverse and warring nations co-existtogether to work, study and explore in peace.A land where Man can watchMother Nature act alone, undisturbed. The highest, windiest, driestcontinent and yet the one containing the most water. Jeff Rubin givesprofound insights on this last continent, this last true frontier.Thisbook is packed with facts about history, geology as well as environmentalissues (by Dr.Maj de Porteer) and antarctic science (by Dr.DavidWalton).

    This book also contains a wildlife guide with more than sixtyentries packed with pictures and with information essential for those whowant to go and observe the wilderness of Antarctica.

    Practical tips onwhen, how and with whom to go is both up to date, independent and ascomplete as one can get.

    Plenty of information on the main Antarcticgateways is also provided as well as my most treasured part of the book -the chapter on the Sub-Antarctic Islands packed with information which isvery diffuclt to find anywhere else with details on such isolated islandslike Bouvetoya - the most isolated land on earth, Ile Crozet, Ile Kerguelenand many many others.

    There are more than 20 maps in this bookincluding, believe it or not, a map of non-existent islands.Throughouthis book Rubin adds boxed text which provide to-the-point information onvaried subjects ranging from Helicopter Safety, Taking Photos inAntarctica, Why one should not collect anything from Antarctica,Glaciology, the Aurora Australis and How to cope with isolation.

    It isa pity that Rubin does not deal with such sensitive issues such as theexploration of the undergroung lake Vostok and attempts by many groups toban sampling from this lake so as to avoid contamination.

    A selection ofphotos is also present in this book, although unfortuantely not even onenew photo has been added when compared to the first edition.

    This book isa must for all those who are going to Antarctica as well for all those areinterested in Antarctica but who do not have the good fortune, or thenecessary finances to go to the most beautiful place on earth in person. Instead through Jeff Rubin one can practice on a regular basis armchairtourism.The only pity is that here in Malta the temperature is 35 degressCelsius.To feel truly there, I need a 2 metre tall freezer so as to atleast feel what is it like to be in a very hot Antarctican summer day! ... Read more


    17. Tourism in the Antarctic: Opportunities, Constraints, and Future Prospects
    by Thomas G. Bauer
    list price: $39.95
    our price: $39.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0789011042
    Catlog: Book (2001-07-01)
    Publisher: Haworth Hospitality Press
    Sales Rank: 771537
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    Book Description

    This valuable book analyzes tourism activities in the most remote tourist destination in the world. It establishes visitor profiles; discusses the impacts of tourism on the environment, culture, and economy of the region; and explores opportunities and future directions in Antarctic tourism. The emergence of ecotourism has turned Antarctica into an increasingly popular tourist destination for intrepid travelers. During the 1999/2000 season, approximately 15,000 passengers were expected to visit Antarctica by ship. Generously embellished with charts and tables that make it easy to track activities, opinions, and trends, this book is an essential reference for anyone teaching, studying, or planning to operate a tourism business in this part of the world. ... Read more


    18. Arctic Crossing : A Journey Through the Northwest Passage and Inuit Culture
    by JONATHAN WATERMAN
    list price: $29.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375404090
    Catlog: Book (2001-03-27)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 462697
    Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    When Jonathan Waterman set out to cross the Arctic Circle by way of kayak, cross-country skis, and a dogsled, he was less interested in conquering the 2,200 miles between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans than in learning to live as the Inuit had before him (Inuit, for The People, is the name Canadian Eskimos prefer). Good thing, for the Arctic, as revealed in this candid and engrossing travelogue, is no place for jock-style adventure. Over the course of three summers, Waterman paddled through storms, capsized in 39-degree water, blacked out, and was bitten by thousands of mosquitoes, smoked out by exploding underground seams of coal, and chased by a grizzly bear. The land was so vast and empty that swans and bears vanished before him, ice chunks appeared as kayaks, and driftwood morphed into people in a disorienting series of mirages. Perhaps most challenging of all for Waterman was spending weeks at a time in this setting without seeing another soul. Under these circumstances, he had no choice but to draw on remnant instincts to avoid disaster, forget about time and goals, and to connect deeply to "the Earth and Its Great Weather," as the Inuit say. "Any committed adventurer eventually learns that equipment and performance are just a means to that greater end of finding your place in the natural world," writes Waterman, who proves he is willing to go the extra thousand miles for a moment of insight.

    Of course, he also experiences moments of unparalleled serenity--caribou trotting out to his boat, belugas spouting around him, grizzlies on the shore--and creates warm friendships with the Inuit themselves, who have changed radically since their own days of traveling by kayak and dogsled. Waterman works admirably to understand The People without judging them, though he is discouraged by what he finds left of the culture he emulates--communities caught in a "depraved limbo, somewhere between paradise and tuberculosis." As with the Arctic itself, the Inuit turn out to be more complex in reality--and ultimately more appealing--than in mythology. Waterman's stark and satisfying account excels in its ability to grapple with the human condition while illuminating a mystical world inaccessible to the rest of us. --Lesley Reed ... Read more

    Reviews (26)

    5-0 out of 5 stars More than I expected!!
    A friend of mine recommended this book to me because I have always been interested in the native people of Alaska and Canada. Jonathan Waterman, in "Arctic Crossings", is very sensative to the Inuit story, not only their history, but also the tenuous circumstances of their lives today. Also, I was very touched by the sharing of his tender emotions about being alone on a long voyage. AND, I loved his descriptions of the wild life, especially the bears, throughout the book. Included are extrordinry color photographs of wildlife as well as different passages of the trip. The Banff Book Awards agreed: This book was choosen and the Best Adventure Travel Book of 2001.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic, pure and simple
    This is one of those rare books that will stand larger with time. Waterman's journey through the Arctic Circle becomes a circling through both a culture and through the soloist's heart, a sort of Odyssey by kayak and with shotgun. There is everything to admire about this thoughtful book, the writing, the almost transparent self protrait, the ineffable scholarship, the raw adventure, and - refreshingly in this day of chest-thumping adrenaline junkies - an ethic of self preservation vs. summit-fever risk taking. Ironically, as the author set out upon this solitary epic, his stated intention was to avoid an epic. He judges the sea currents the way he judges bear tracks, with an eye to not only surviving, but thriving. His storytelling is pitch perfect. In presenting the Inuit, he gives us an ancient hunter culture stripped of the noble savage. He sketches the overlay of post-modern Western civilization in the "wastelands" without a preachment, only a fenceline in the middle of nowhere and surly guards on alert against no one. As icebergs metamorphose into animals, and animals shape-shift into driftwood, we grow into an alternate reality, one where trees are like magical trespassers. He shows this immortal land as entirely mortal and vulnerable, nothing new there. But where he finds a long dead Western explorer, it is cautionary, for it is himself - and us - that lie in the barrens without a witness. All in all, Arctic Crossing is a haunting book, beautifully written, utterly authentic, wise, poignant, and warmed throughout by one man's quest for the human condition.

    5-0 out of 5 stars buy this book
    Jon Waterman is a writer who belongs between the hardcovers. His explorations and introspection make for compelling reading.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Articulate Adventurer
    Who was it who said, "less is more"? That's one truth that stands out in Jonathan Waterman's "Artic Crossing" - a epical solo trip of the Northwest Passage done without fanfare, without oodles of sponsorship dough. I liked the author's cool, understated writing style, the wry observations about his sufferings and about the Inuits. No hyperbole, none of self-inflation that is so common in adventure writing, this book is truly believable. A wonderful read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars excellent book
    in Arctic Crossing Jonathan Waterman, Kabloona extraordinaire gives us a a great gift. This guy can write, this guy can listen to the silence, this guy can paddle,hike, take in the wonder and freezing cold andbring it back home to those of us all warm in our living rooms. this guy is amazing. ... Read more


    19. Antarctica: A Year at the Bottom of theWorld
    by Jim Mastro
    list price: $40.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0821227548
    Catlog: Book (2002-06)
    Publisher: Bulfinch
    Sales Rank: 87656
    Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Experience the strange beauty of Antarctica through photographs and exciting personal anecdotes that take armchair travelers and future explorers right to the edge of the ice! In this breathtaking book, Jim Mastro describes his striking year-long account of what it's like to exist at the bottom of the world, complete with photographs, captions, and his own dramatic, personal narrative. Experience face-to-face encounters with pods of killer whales, deadly winter storms, and floes of gray ice. Endure the lonely isolation during four months of utter darkness. Enjoy the anticipation and warmth of the world's shortest summer. Jim Mastro takes you there to face the challenges and adventures that he survived. ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Better than expected
    I expected a tome from someone who worked in Antarctica, heavy on the narrative, light on coffee-table book quality photographs. I was pleasantly surprised to find a fine quality book with excellent photographs. Well-written and nicely laid out, this makes a good introduction to modern-day Antarctic history.

    I've read the account of the doctor who had breast cancer and her rescue "Ice Bound" as well as a scientist's account of working in the Antarctic area, "Crystal Desert". Neither of them were as good as this book.

    I've travelled to the Antarctic peninsula (as well as the fantastic South Georgia Island, a sub-antarctic island), and it's a wonderfully beautiful place. Some of the photographs capture the southernmost continent's incredible beauty and equally fantastic wildlife.

    Recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The reader is part of the voyage
    If you are in the least bit interested in Antarctica, as I have been for about 20 years, READ THIS BOOK. Mastro is a brilliant travel writer whose simple, witty, easily enjoyable style keeps you feeling as though you were there experiencing the whole thing yourself. An amazing narrative insight into several different areas of the frozen continent, in weather conditions beyond belief, as well a trip below the ice on a diving expedition, and a trip to Bird Island on the Antarctic Peninsua. I learned so much form this book! It would be well worth the price even if it were only in text form. The amazing pictures throughout it really add to the sense of what it is really like there.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Haunting Beauty of Antarctica
    Jim Mastro got to do what so few of us are able to do - to spend a year at the bottom of the world and experience the frenetic summers and the solitary winters. His experiences are recorded here to share with readers and makes for a fascinating and beautiful book. Mastro spent a year working in Antarctica as a diver and lab support person. He has recorded in words and photographs what he experienced and saw. And this is what is different about his book. Other books such as "Terra Incognita" and "Antarctica: Exploring the Extreme: 400 Years of Adventure" try to describe the beauty and danger of the southern continent. This book shows you. The photos are glorious and breathtaking and serve to illustrate the stories Mastro writes. If anything now I am even more determined that I must see Antarctica myself. He gives you the majesty of this bleak land, as well as the intimacy that comes as the night closes in for the winter, and finally the small slivers of joy that come as the winter begins to recede and light returns to the continent. A cycle of life and rebirth that so few of us will ever get to see is wonderfully illustrated here. Just a wonderful book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Smart, spectacular view of life in Antarctica
    If your goal is to get a sense of what it's like to live and work in Antarctica, then Mastro's book "A Year at the Bottom of the World" is a must. If you just want to look at spectacular pictures of the Antarctic, then Mastro's book is a must. If you want an affordable, top-quality tabletop book, then Mastro's is a must. If you don't want to warp your coffee table top ... well, unlike a typical picture book (which will accomplish said warping), Mastro's is a sensible 10.25 x 11.25-inch, four pound gem. I've been going to the ice since 1984 and have read many other accounts. (I guess that makes me knowledgeable.) Mastro's is by far the best. His photography captures the Antarctic scenery -- above and below the ice -- brilliantly. Stunning, clever, and fascinating are also appropriate descriptors. The text is a first person narrative; I normally find these to be terribly boring. So initially I bought this book for the pictures. (Did I mention that the images are spectacular, brilliant, stunning, clever, and fascinating?) But, as you can imagine, it's hard to avoid glancing at the text, too. As I read more, I gawked at the pictures less. I was genuinely surprised at how much I *enjoyed* reading it! He cleverly builds the narrative, illustrating his growth from a naive Californian geek into ... well, whatever Mastro has transformed into after all these experiences. Some of his stories are thoughtful & somber, some are funny, and all are interesting. Bravo Mastro!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Historical perspective on Jim Mastro's book
    Antarctic accounts come in a number of different flavors. (Skip the next four paragraphs to cut to the chase).

    The first variety is the explorer's official account. They were - and are - written to inform the public of the expedition's accomplishments, generally by the expedition's leader and frequently to help pay the inevitable bills that survive the expedition. James Clark Ross' "A Voyage of Discovery and Research, In the Southern and Antarctic Regions, during the years 1839-43", Robert Scott's "The Voyage of the Discovery" and Ernest Shackleton's "The Heart of the Antarctic" are among the classics.

    There are scientists recounting a particular piece of work (Bill Green's "Water, Ice & Stone") or a career (Charles Swithenbank's "An Alien in Antarctica", "Foothold on Antarctica" and "Forty Years on Ice"), transcribed journals (Edward Wilson's "Diary of the Discovery Expedition to the Antarctic Regions 1901-1904" and Charles Wright's "Silas"), photographers (Ansel Adams' "Antarctica"), historians (among them Ann Savours and T.H. Baughman), and a philosopher (Stephen Pyne's "The Ice").

    A major category is that of the instant expert or Antarctic tourist. These are generally writers who have conducted extensive research in preparation for a brief sojourn in Antarctica. The numerous works range from trivial to profound. Jim Henderson's IGY book ("One Foot at the Pole" - he had an artificial limb) is quite droll while Sara Wheeler's recent accounts are excellent.

    The instant experts provide a snapshot of life on the ice through the eyes of an honored visitor. They are generally sponsored by a National Antarctic Program and have privileges most residents of Antarctica can only imagine, primarily access to the ice edge and its fauna as well as to areas beyond an hour's walk from main bases.

    The Chase.
    An uncommon type of account is a resident's, the first of which was Apsley Cherry-Garrard's "The Worst Journey in the World". Cherry-Garrard was a youthful, pleasant, gentleman of means whose primary recommendations to Scott's last expedition were his engaging personality and substantial financial contribution. He had neither the vested interest in the expedition's success that its leaders felt, nor did he have the detailed scientific duties of its experts. He was instead a generalist and acute observer who, as a resident of the continent, wrote a classic of Antarctic literature that is arguably the best of the lot.

    There are many contemporary residents of Antarctica. They provide services and are the foundation of the infrastructure that supports the scientists and privileged tourists. Those residents' lives are full, rich and very different from those they support. Some come to the ice for the adventure, some for the community and some for the job. Many are articulate, multiple-season, steady residents whose life includes 6 months on the ice working and 6 months off the ice enjoying the fruits of that labor. Few, however, have published their observations.

    Jim Mastro was a resident who spent both summer seasons and winters on the ice. He held positions of responsibility without the burden of setting policies or practices needing defense. In short, Jim worked there. He describes what makes the Antarctic community so unique in a book that is a detailed account of a year on the ice.

    Mastro's book "A Year at the Bottom of the World" is more detailed and far richer than the brief and sunny snapshot generally taken by the tourists. Mastro recalls exploits that are frequently amusing, occasionally dangerous and in some cases the result of not-so-great decisions. His tone is pleasantly understated as he recognizes danger without descending to melodramatic proclamations. The book is visually appealing and illustrated with Mastro's superb photographs. It is historically accurate with sufficient background information to allow a new student of the Antarctic to read it without additional reference material (without becoming another prosaic account of already-told history).

    One of the primary attractions of this book is that rather than explaining the difficulties of a hugely complex expedition or the rarified atmosphere of high academic accomplishment, Mastro tells of living and working there. It is obvious that he is good at what he does and that he enjoys himself, but he's basically one of the guys. There is some drama but little death-defying adventure; some disappointment but not much tragedy; some accomplishments but no nominations for the Nobel Prize. Mastro is a pretty normal guy in an extraordinary place with concerns and accomplishments that are both imaginable and reachable for the rest of us.

    Mastro's keen eye, wry turn of phrase and dramatic photographs make this an accurate and engaging account of the Antarctic life. Technology has modified a few details, but the basics of a full year in Antarctica are unaltered since the first winter-over more than a century ago. This book is the best account of contemporary life in Antarctica. ... Read more


    20. The Coldest March: Scott`s Fatal Antarctic Expedition
    by Susan Solomon
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $35.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0300089678
    Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
    Publisher: Yale University Press
    Sales Rank: 152331
    Average Customer Review: 3.76 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    The icy deaths of Robert Falcon Scott and his companions on their returnfrom the South Pole in 1912 made them English icons of courage and sacrifice.Soon, however, Scott's judgments and decisions were questioned, and hisreputation became one of inept bungler rather than heroic pioneer. SusanSolomon, senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationin Colorado, approaches Scott's story from a meteorologist's point of view. Sheshows that the three weeks from February 27 to March 19, during which theexplorers fell further and further behind the daily distances they had to coverin order to survive, were far colder than normal. Unusual blizzards of wet snowhad already slowed the party and depleted their provisions and strength. Withoutthese once-in-a-decade phenomena, Solomon believes the party would have returnedto its base on the Ross Sea--second after Roald Amundsen in the race to thePole, but safely. She opens each chapter with comments from a hypotheticalmodern visitor to Antarctica, presumably to give a wider context to the humandrama of the last century, though this reviewer finds them inappropriate. Sheenriches her narratives of Scott's two Antarctic expeditions with vintagephotographs and tables of meteorological data that highlight the explorers'achievements. Their determination was pitted against the worst weather in theworld. Scott's story has been told many times before, but its weatherinformation makes The Coldest March a useful addition to the literature.--John Stevenson ... Read more

    Reviews (17)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Still not exonerated
    Susan Solomon has tried very hard in this well-written and documented new book to exonerate Captain Robert Falcon Scott, the leader of the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole in 1911-1912. In recent years Scott has been accused of everything from simple incompetence to real stupidity by critics of his leadership and organization, which Solomon, an NOAA scientist with a distinguished career and Antarctic experience, clearly finds unjustified. By extensively researching not only the original documentation - diaries of Scott and his men, the expedition's meteorological records, information from other Antarctic expeditions of the day such as Shackleton's 1908-1909 try for the pole and Amundsen's successful polar bid of 1911-1912 - but also modern meteorological data, now available for some years along the entirety of Scott's route to the pole (now the course for aircraft bound for the Amundsen-Scott Station), she has tried her level best to suggest that abnormally cold weather was the deciding factor in the loss of the five-man polar party. And indeed cold weather must have been a factor. The poor weather conditions not only would have debilitated the men and caused severe frostbite, the friction of cold snow would have made it almost impossible for the men to pull their sledges more than a few miles a day. Indeed Solomon has charted the progress of the polar party, comparing it with the two supporting parties that turned back short of the pole, and her information does demonstrate how badly slowed up Scott and his four companions were.

    The trouble remains, however, that while poor weather clearly contributed to the loss of Captain Scott and his men, Scott's own mistakes and poor planning were also a factor, and to her great credit Solomon does not conceal them, just as Scott, an undeniably courageous and honest man, did not conceal them in his own writings. Scott's assiduous copying of Shackleton's mistakes in 1908-09 (the use of ponies, reliance on unproven motor transport), his own short cuts (spending time testing his motor sledges but not clothing, tents, or other gear), and his failures in leadership (taking five men instead of the planned four to the pole) were instrumental, I believe, in his failure to survive the trek. One also must question why, after the blizzard that trapped the men in their tent 11 miles from a depot of food and fuel, the two well men, Dr. Wilson and the redoubtable Lt. Bowers, did not leave Scott, who was crippled by frostbite, and go to the depot for supplies or even, in the finale extremity, leave Scott to die and save themselves, something Solomon herself seems to find as mysterious as others who have pondered the question, although she advances a possible explanation.

    Overall this is a very good book, the first to take into account modern knowledge of Antarctic weather and apply it to Scott's tragic expedition. Although I don't feel that the author has entirely proved her thesis, it is a valuable and useful contribution to the controversy over Captain Scott's expedition.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Last Place on Earth is better!
    Susan Solomon's 400+ pages of closely reasearched and well written material can't disguise Capt. Scott's failings in leadership. He may have possessed a modern scientific outlook in his thinking, but his methodology was so often flawed that his expedition was probably doomed from the start. The PBS companion program "Secrets of the Dead" also does a great diservice to Roald Amundsen, characterizing this professional polar explorer's successful journey to the South Pole as "lucky" and "unplanned." Amundsen's achievement--traversing nearly 2000 miles of unknown territory in the harshest climate on the planet with a mixture of meticulous planning and hearty self-reliance--completely eclipses Scott's slavish & unimaginative repetition of Shackleton's route & methods. Roland Huntford's excellent "The Last Place on Earth" remains the classic study of the Amundsen/Scott polar journeys--don't read Solomon without Huntford.

    4-0 out of 5 stars New Insight Disturbing
    This book is very readable and enjoyable, even for those familiar with Scott's story. The reason for the one star deduction is the author's half-hearted defense of Scott. Several of the examples she uses to demonstrate that Scott was not a total idiot actually confirm Scott's deficiencies. Scott's largest flaw was his inability to learn from his previous experience. In his initial foray into Antartica, he took two excursions that found him making it back barely alive. In his trip to the pole, he cut his margin of error too close yet again. The author makes a strong point that Scott had been informed by Simpson of the March temperatures and expected temperature differences further south, yet Scott did not alter his plans to accordingly.

    What the author may have missed is that the Scott/Amundsen dielectic is one of the dying empire/doing it the British way with human fortitude (ie. stiff upper lip) versus a new country/adjusting to the circumstances as required. Scott was doomed by the paradigm he was working within. Amundsen represented the new paradigm that would eventually replace Scott's paradigm. Scott's failure was a harbinger of the decline of the British Empire.

    The major contribution of the book is the revelation that Scott in the final days was not held back by the weather. The obvious conclusion, that the author dances around, is that Scott, due to his back frostbite and inability to go on himself, failed to follow in Oates' heroic footsteps and allow Wilson and Bowers the chance to survive. Scott's vanity and lack of courage cost may have cost them their lives. I had a very low opinion of Scott before reading this book. Knowing that Scott lied about the weather and the reason their party was stalled lowers my opinion of him further.

    Someone interested in polar exploration should begin by reading The Last Place on Earth. When done with that, Solomon's book adds an interesting twist on the story.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Coldest March-High Adventure in Antartica
    This is a fascinating tale of high adventure in Antarctica that is well documented with all the scientific facts that a scientist or scholar would demand in a research paper. I chose to read it as a true story of a heroic struggle by a determined group of men who willingly followed Scott out of love and respect, despite terrible hardships. Besides the obvious hardship of the cold, the men also faced death by drowning, starvation, disease and were even threatened by Killer Whales trying to break through the ice to get to the men and the horses. A must read for the real or would be adventurer!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting assessment of Scott's Polar journey......
    This is a really thoughtful, well-researched assessment of Scott's fatal Polar expedition. It is insightful and gives the reader a clear explanation of many issues that affected the outcome of one of the most interesting expeditions of all times. It is full of information that brings to life what these MEN did almost a hundred years ago. Exploration is on a different level these days. Nothing like it was for Scott's party and those of his era experienced. Brave and daring like nothing we can imagine.I think anyone interested in Polar exploration will be thoroughly satisfied with the subject matter covered in this well written book. It covers survival issues like no other book on the subject I have seen to date.It is a subject that I find fascinating and this book brings out the horrific circumstances that they had to contend with and is a more fair appraisal of Scott's effort to reach the South Pole. Well worth your time and consideration. ... Read more


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