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$10.17 list($14.95)
81. Arctic Exodus : The Last Great
$10.20 $5.99 list($15.00)
82. End of the Earth : Voyaging to
$10.85 $9.00 list($15.95)
83. High Latitudes : An Arctic Journey
$17.68 $16.75 list($26.00)
84. Arctic Aurora: Canada's Yukon
$11.55 $4.85 list($16.99)
85. Antarctic Journal : Four Months
$18.75 $15.20
86. You Wouldn't Want to Be a Polar
$3.75 list($21.95)
87. In the Land of White Death : An
list($5.99)
88. Arctic Daughter
$11.00 list($21.95)
89. Mind over Matter: The Epic Crossing
$6.95
90. Arctic Alphabet: Exploring the
$14.00 $2.00
91. Skating to Antarctica: A Journey
$3.74 list($24.00)
92. Cold Oceans: Adventures in Kayak,
$15.72 list($24.95)
93. The Last Wilderness: Arctic National
$16.47 $8.99 list($24.95)
94. Mountains of Madness: A Scientist's
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95. ANTARCTIC TRAVELLER
$29.95 $9.49
96. Ambassador to the Penguins: A
$7.16 $5.55 list($7.95)
97. Hooray For Antarctica! (Our Amazing
$10.85 $10.00 list($15.95)
98. Ice Blink: The Tragic Fate of
$12.21 $11.90 list($17.95)
99. Ice Bird: The Classic Story of
$15.61 $14.44 list($22.95)
100. Berserk : My Voyage to the Antarctic

81. Arctic Exodus : The Last Great Trail Drive
by Dick North
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 1592286682
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: The Lyons Press
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Book Description

Arctic Exodus is the dramatic story of one of the greatest trail drives in the history of North America.

In 1929, Andrew Bahr, “The Arctic Moses,” and his small band ofherders started out from Alaska with three thousand reindeer, intending to cover the fifteen hundred miles to the Mackenzie Delta in eighteen months. Bahr was seventy at the time, and the reindeer were needed as domestic animals for tribes living above the Arctic Circle. While the rest of the world was reeling from the Depression, Bahr and his men would face the challenges of seventy-below temperatures, blizzards, prowling wolves, twenty-four-hour days in summer, boggy tundra, mosquitoes, and ornery reindeer. In the end, their perilous journey would take more than five years to complete--one mountain range took an entire year to cross--and he ended the trip with roughly the same number of reindeer, having raised as many as he lost.

With riveting detail, Dick North brings the characters, the setting, and the spirit of the trail drive to life in this classic Arctic adventure tale. There will never be another like it.
... Read more

82. End of the Earth : Voyaging to Antarctica
by Peter Matthiessen
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
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Asin: 0792268369
Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
Publisher: National Geographic
Sales Rank: 177315
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Book Description

Matthiessen has once again lit upon a subject profoundly fitted to his creative genius. He is simply the ultimate lyricist of loss, a writer brilliantly attentive to the way vanishings are braided into even the most exquisite moments of our lives. He agonizes over what is passing away, but does so in a manner that increases our appreciation of what remains. In "End of the Earth," Matthiessen joins the crew of the Akademik-a 384-foot research vessel bound for wild and storied South Georgia Island and Antarctica.Along the way we are treated to a patented Matthiessen brew: lyricism and emotion applied to the sharp-eyed evaluations of a seasoned naturalist.Brilliant and instructive observations of the creatures inhabiting this far-flung region are sprinkled with eloquent disquisition on the history of the region (Shackleton, Captain Cook, the first Antarctic whaling station at Grytviken which processed 25, 60-foot whales a day between 1900 and 1903) the effects of pollution and the resulting global warming that, unchecked, threaten polar meltdown and the exponential obliteration of vast quantities of the world's land mass.He tells us why the waters off South Georgia are one of the richest whale-feeding grounds of the world, how the wandering albatross-with the greatest wingspan (ll. feet) of any bird on earth-"arching down the sky to vanish behind a wave, curving high again like a white cross", excited cries of wonder from the crew of the Akademik. We learn of the inexplicable king penguin congregation (70,000 strong) in Gold Harbor, how seabirds process saltwater, the habits of every variety of fur seal, walrus petrel and penguin that inhabit the region.And just when you think your appetite for nature depiction is slaked, an intense hurricane batters the Akademik for two days, injuring virtually everyone on board. Like all great writers Matthiessen is both obsessive and expansive as he converts his travels to the world's most remote and unforgiving places into opportunities to embrace a host of landscapes and creatures with a boundless curiosity. After 28 books and 75 peripatetic years, his passion for the natural world is undiminished, and"Islands at the End of the Earth," is Matthiessen at the very top of his game. ... Read more


83. High Latitudes : An Arctic Journey
by FARLEY MOWAT
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
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Asin: 1586420615
Catlog: Book (2003-02-10)
Publisher: Steerforth
Sales Rank: 83142
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

High Latitudes chronicles the author’s journey across northern Canada in 1966. Engaging in what Margaret Atwood, in her introduction, calls "a salvation escapade," Mowat hoped to write a book based on his experiences that would debunk the then-current idea of the North as a playground for developers and polluters. Until now, that book remained unwritten. Mowat’s compelling blend of suspenseful storytelling and larger-than-life characters immerses readers in the Arctic, a place Mowat dubs a "bloody great wasteland." In a voice alternately filled with rage, humor, and pathos, Mowat seasons his story with photos, maps, and verbatim transcriptions of testimonies from northern peoples — Inuit and white — at a time when the old ways of life were disappearing. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A tragic topic, an impressive writer
A sad book. High Latitudes focuses on the disintegrating culture of North Canadian Natives. Much of the book is transcription of the natives in their own words and gives excellent insight into their plight. An overriding theme of the book is the devastating effect bureaucratic decisions of government and big business has had on these Inuits (Eskimos) and others.

This wasn't the adventure story I was expecting from Farley Mowat like "People of the Deer" in which he lived with an arctic community. This trip, taken in 1966, he travels by plane. Still none the less an adventure, he keenly describes a variety of northern communities including: Churchill ("a ...collection of mostly wooden structures between taiga and open tundra"), Povungnituk (the place that stinks), Old Crow (where "people catch lots of rats, won't let you go hungry there"), and many others. In typical fashion, Farley Mowat creates a gripping pathos about past cultures and events never to return, and often includes rich historical background for places he explores.

If you're a Farley Mowat fan, I would rate this as important but not as engaging as some of his other books (I've read four others: "People of the Deer", "And No Birds Sang", "Never Cry Wolf", and "The Boat Who Wouldn't Float"). The book ends somewhat abruptly but he saves a great anecdote from the Yukon Territory for the end. A frustrating aspect about the events you read about in this book is that they took place in the sixties. I'd like to know how these settlements he visited have done since then. I'll probably never know. ... Read more


84. Arctic Aurora: Canada's Yukon and Northwest Territories
by John Holt
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.68
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Asin: 0892725575
Catlog: Book (2004-09-30)
Publisher: Countrysport Press
Sales Rank: 66227
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Book Description

Imagine a land more than a dozen times the size of Montana, a land of immense inland seas, oceans of uncut forests, and myriad untamed rivers filled with huge northern pike, arctic grayling, and char. It is also a land of rock and of ice that lies glistening beneath flickering northern lights, a place where grizzlies wander among isolated mountain ranges, where polar bears roam among herds of caribou on the tundra flats. This is Canada’s far north, the place of Arctic Aurora.

Author John Holt has made nine trips to this wild place, covering some fifty thousand miles in his exploration of its magic. Through his words -- sometimes lyrical and introspective, sometimes insightfully humorous -- you’ll share in his adventures. Sometimes, they involve the miners, trappers, bush pilots, and even the odd tourist he encountered. At others, his focus is the cold-water game fish that he cast to and hooked in every corner of the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Includes striking color and black-and-white photographs. ... Read more


85. Antarctic Journal : Four Months at the Bottom of the World
by Jennifer Owings Dewey
list price: $16.99
our price: $11.55
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Asin: 0060285869
Catlog: Book (2001-01-31)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 719539
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Imagine if you were given a grant by the National Science Foundation tospend four months in Antarctica to sketch, take pictures, and write home tofriends and family. Antarctic Journal is the record of Jennifer OwingsDewey's trek to the bottom of the world: "a planet as remote as the moon in itsown way," she writes. Antarctica, home to 100 million penguins, has ice up tothree miles thick, covering 98 percent of the land. The author writes heraccount of this icy-cold adventure at Palmer Station in an accessible journal,sprinkled with letters home and colored-pencil sketches and photographs ofvarious landscapes and Arctic creatures. Discussions of penguin behavior areinterrupted by the history of Gondwanaland and continental drift, while snippetsabout trying to cook krill (the tiny phytoplankton that blue whales eat) ingarlic and butter add a comic and personal touch to her adventure. Descriptionsof the "green flash" that happens just before sunset, red tide, and a mirageeffect called the "fata morgana" (named after the fairy Morgan who built castlesin the air) are sure to intrigue and inspire young explorers. This is acharming, personable introduction to a forbidding, fascinating continent. (Ages8 to 12) --Karin Snelson ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars clever, well written, interesting
Jennifer Owings Dewey spent four months in Antarctic sketching and photographing wildlife, and writing this wonderful book about the “last great wilderness on earth.” The trip was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The book jacket claims that it is appropriate for age 7 and up… well perhaps for a precocious child. I think that ( ) has it right. Age 9 to 12 seems more appropriate.

Written as a cross between a diary and letters home, and interspersed with drawings, and photographs, this is a small, almost intimate book. I read the “Antarctic Journal” out loud to my 11 year-old daughter. We talked about each journal entry or letter home, and looked at all the pictures together. We were introduced to the Adelie penguins, nesting gentoos, blue whales, Weddell seals, and krill. We were given a little history lesson starting 200 million years ago with Gondwanaland, and many lessons in nature. Antarctic has only one year-round land-resident, a mite. It’s the size of a pinhead. Also, male and female penguins share parenting, and they are absolutely devoted parents. A “parent penguin suffering heat stroke will not abandon its nest. It will fall dead in a heap first.” Antarctica has its own etiquette. Human visitors to Antarctica are not allowed to touch any wildlife. However, penguins did check out the author, her clothes, and typewriter.

So many nature books are dry. This one is clever, well written, and interesting. It is a wonderful addition to our home library. I highly recommend it. ... Read more


86. You Wouldn't Want to Be a Polar Explorer!: An Expedition You'd Rather Not Go on (You Wouldn't Want To... (Prebound))
by Jen Green, David Antram
list price: $18.75
our price: $18.75
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Asin: 0613442768
Catlog: Book (2002-08-01)
Publisher: Rebound by Sagebrush
Sales Rank: 752249
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87. In the Land of White Death : An Epic Story of Survival in the Siberian Arctic
by VALERIAN ALBANOV, Linda Dubosson
list price: $21.95
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Asin: 0679641009
Catlog: Book (2000-10-24)
Publisher: Modern Library
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In the early 20th-century era of daring polar exploration, the less-trumpeted fishing and hunting expeditions went largely unrecorded. Except, that is, for a recently discovered tale about a Russian hunter and his shipmate. Valerian Albanov's account of his 18-month-long survival in the Siberian Arctic remained unknown until a group of polar-literature enthusiasts rediscovered it in 1997. Translated into English for the first time, In the Land of White Death competes with the adventures of famed heroes Robert Falcon Scott, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, and Ernest Shackleton. And like Scott's and Cherry-Garrard's narratives, Albanov's tale is penned from a diary he kept during his remarkable ordeal.

Albanov's epic begins in 1914, after he leaves the Saint Anna, a sailing vessel bound for Vladivostok and new hunting territory, 7,000 miles across dangerous water. Only a few months into the voyage, the ship is trapped in pack ice, where it drifts helplessly with the Kara Sea ice flow for nearly one and a half years. With supplies dwindling and no hope of rescue, Albanov, the ship's navigator, and 13 of his colleagues leave the boat and the remaining crew to look for land. Outfitted with sleds and kayaks built from scavenged fragments of the Saint Anna, Albanov begins his 18-month trek to Franz Josef Land with a broken chronometer, scant supplies, and a team of inexperienced men.

Facing starvation, subzero temperatures, and the loss of most of his team, Albanov persists, searching for an outpost rumored to be at Cape Flora, 120 miles from his original starting point. He and his last surviving shipmate survive a litany of amazing mishaps: asleep on an ice flow, they are dumped into frozen water while bound in a sleeping bag; scurvy nearly kills Albanov only a few miles from his destination; and once help arrives, they're caught in the first skirmishes of World War I, a conflict of which they had no knowledge.

Albanov's experience is a brief, gripping account of a story that rivals the greatest survival tales in history. The diary style of his tale preserves its emotional authenticity as he trudges his way across the frozen Arctic, and his knack for clear detail only highlights the unbelievable fact that Albanov was lucid enough to write at all during his winter march across a deadly landscape. --Lolly Merrell ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Facinating account of artic survival
Albanov was a Russian navigator. In 1912 he set sail as second in command of the Saint Anna in the hopes of reaching Vladivostok across the Northeast Passage. His ship was locked in the pack ice in the Kara Sea and drifting northward. After 18 months locked in the ice, with supplies incapable of supporting everyone another winter, he asked for permission to build a kayak and sled to seek land to the south. Others decided to join him, encouraged by the Captain, who with the small remainder of the crew, hope to be spit out of the ice in the Atlantic many months later. They were never found.

Thirteen started the perilous journey and two survived. The remainder on the Saint Anna are perhaps still locked in an icy death above the artic circle.

The book was written in Russian and later translated to French. Only recently was in translated into English after a copy was found in the Harvard library, unread for 68 years.

Albanov's diary, the basis for this later book, describes the ordeal, the wildlife encountered, the snow blindness, and the fatigue that lead to the deaths of many of the men.

I found the book to be a quick read. I was unable to put it down until I finished it.

Strongly recommended.

Conrad B Senior

4-0 out of 5 stars Great story of Arctic survival
We are fortunate that this incredible story of Arctic survival has finally been translated from the Russian diary of Valerian Albanov so that we can vicariously share in his adventure. If you are a fan of Arctic or Antarctic exploration, then this book is a must read for you. As in the Endurance epic of Ernest Shackleton in Antarctica, Albanov's ship was also locked in the ice only in the far reaches of the Arctic near Franz Josef Land. Albanov and a few others decide to leave the ship and make their way over the ice to the safety of land many miles away. This account documents their efforts as they encounter one hardship after another. I have been to this part of the world and having seen it first hand, it is almost impossible for me to imagine how they survived. It is interesting to compare this story with that of the Shackleton adventure. Both took place at about the same time in history, yet at opposite Poles. The main contrast I noted was the superior leadership qualities of Shackleton. While Albanov did not measure up to that standard, he, nonetheless, with great difficulty seemed to keep his men going. Unfortunately, he did not have the success of Shackleton. This book is a good addition to any library on Polar adventure stories.

5-0 out of 5 stars A true account of survival in the Siberian Arctic
The Russian exploration vessel, the Saint Anna, set sail in 1912 to search for hunting grounds in the North Polar region. Within a few months, the crew of 33 had become icebound and spent the next year and a half trapped in the ice, drifting farther and farther North. In 1914, the navigator, Valerian Albanov, decided to risk a trek across the ice with the hope of reaching Franz Josef Land. 13 crewmen set off across the ice, with the remaining 20 choosing to stay on board the ship. Of the 13 crewmen, only two survived.

"In the Land of White Death" is the true account of the trek, as written by Valerian Albanov. Starting with the few days before leaving, he writes a remarkable story of survival in severely cold conditions, with supplies diminishing and morale quickly ebbing. It is very detailed with its discriptions not only of the terrain, but of the crew and their physical and mental states throughout the journey.

Translator David Roberts also includes in his epilogue some of the text from the other survivor of the journey, crewman Alexander Konrad. His take on certain events sheds a whole new lights on certain aspects of their voyage across the ice.

This is a remarkable book, both for its story of survival and its glimpse into human nature. One of the best non-fiction books that I've read.

4-0 out of 5 stars great companion to lansing's 'endurance'
this is a fast and enjoyable read in the historic polar adventure genre, perhaps most impressive is how the 19th century journal writing remains crisp, clear, and compelling today. a few other comments:
-it is a very interesting companion and comparison to lansing's "endurance", though 'endurance' is probably a bit better written, more interesting, and a superior place for most readers to start than here.
-the maps in the beginning are a bit poor in detail and sadly do not include many of the names that the text refers to.
-as others have noted, i would tend to recommend skipping the introduction and reading it at the end, as it doesn't add much and sort of colors one's impressions of the book.
enjoy!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Rare Account of Russian Arctic Exploration
This is an exceptionally interesting tale which was originally published in 1917 and that relates the tragedy of a doomed Russian Arctic expedition. After being icebound on the Saint Anna for two years far to the north of Siberia, Albanov, the navigator, opted to abandon the trapped ship to make a perilous push for the Franz Josef archipelago, attempting to travel a couple of hundred miles over the ice pack by way of crudely fashioned sledges and kayaks. Ten of the 23 crewmen chose to accompany him. Those who stayed behind, including the captain and the nurse (a rare Western female figure in Arctic journeys--Inuit women sometimes show up in these expeditions but other than this nurse, I haven't read about any European or American women joining up for any travels, except in a footnote in this volume which noted the wife of another Russian explorer tagged along with him and died horribly in the 1750s in Yakutsk)...were never seen again. (Although Russian scholars speculate that it's possible that the ship eventually drifted free again into the Atlantic and might have sailed for Norway, because Nansen's Fram had proven this could be done. Unfortunately, since the remaining crew would have had no way of knowing that WWI had broken out in the meantime, and the North and Barents Seas were swarming with German U-boats, they would've been sunk on sight.)

Most of Albanov's diary was lost in the 90-day struggle towards salvation, so he starts his book right at the point at which he and his group left the ship, saying little about the preceding two years. Later, after rescue, he consulted the remaining diary pages and padded them out to form the bulk of this slim narrative.

One of the things that I found most interesting was that Albanov's whole plan hinged on the accuracy of Nansen's map of the Franz Josef Archipelago, which had been included in a book about that earlier expedition. In that volume in the ship's library, Nansen had told how he and a comrade had wintered at Cape Flora on Northbrook Island in a camp that had been established by still an earlier explorer, the Englishman Jackson. So Albanov, without a means to establish longitude and only able to calculate latitude periodically, was relying on a tentative map of a poorly explored region in order to find a camp that had likely not been visited for several years in the hope that supplies could be found there. At one point, he basically had to guess whether to turn east or west, knowing that if he chose wrong, he would end up hiking away from the archipelago and out into the void.

The other really interesting thing about Albanov's story is the frank way he talks about his companions, calling them lazy and indolent imbeciles without curiousity, foresight, or motivation, and going so far as to note at one point that "they seemed to be engaged in a competition to determine who was the most useless". At every step, he has to verbally flog them forward, because they're constantly kvetching and moaning about hunger and fatigue, and the moment he stops haranguing them, they basically grind to a halt and lay about, staring at the sky. They were able to shoot seals and polar bears from time to time, although it seems that at one point, they narrowly avoided an ignominious death from essentially digestive disorders. (Polar bears are rife with trichinosis, and people can also die from Vitamin A overdose by eating their livers, and it is speculated that one or the other of these problems led to the death of the stranded Andree balloon expedition, the bodies of whose members were not found until 30 years later.) This all-meat diet (after they had run out of biscuit), however, led to severe malnutrition and was probably the cause of death for two members and may also explain why most of the others became listless and wanted to do nothing but stop and sleep.

Also, it's quite interesting to consider the degree to which national characters or cultures are reflected in these expeditions. The English, of course, cornered the market on noble and heroic outright failures, in which everyone suffered tragically and died stoically for the Empire, keeping order and decorum to the end, most notably in Scott's attempt to reach the South Pole. The Americans devolved into murder (the Jeanette expedition, at least as speculated in Weird and Tragic Shores), mutiny and cannibalism (the Greely expedition), and lying and fraud (Frederick Cook). The Scandanavians (with the exception of Andree's quixotic attempt) were pragmatic and low-key (Nansen's farthest-north record was achieved specifically by letting the Fram get frozen into the pack ice so that it would slowly be carried by the currents across the Arctic Sea until he could make a run at the pole by foot). The Russians stereotypically appeared to be fatalistic and indifferent. Of course, the fact that the expedition was extraordinarily badly planned and that half of the crew consisted of whatever idlers and riffraff where found at the very last moment at the wharves at Murmansk could explain why virtually no one seemed to display admirable moral qualities.

This is a very fascinating account about an Arctic journey that few in the English-speaking world had known about until 2000 when the first edition of this book was released. (German and French translations had been published in the 1920s.) Even in Russia it seems that Albanov's ordeal had attracted little interest. The man who was behind organizing this English translation discovered virtually by accident that Russian scholars also had the original diary of the only other survivor but could scarcely be bothered to consult it because the diarist was a mere sailor. The details from this document shed a whole new light on key sections of Albanov's story and are told in an epilogue that had not been prepared in time for the hardback edition.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who dabbles in the exploration genre. It's truly fascinating stuff and told in a way that is fresh and intriguing. It's a story that should be better known. ... Read more


88. Arctic Daughter
by JEAN ASPEN
list price: $5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440214491
Catlog: Book (1993-07-03)
Publisher: Laurel
Sales Rank: 724799
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly Amazing Adventure
I highly recommend this book for those who love true adventure stories. This is a rare and unique one. While I would not rate this book a 5-star simply on the basis of the writing, as sometimes I find descriptive language to linger too long, I must give it an overall 5 stars due to its amazing content and intriguing story of a woman who dared to follow her dreams into one of the last wildernesses remaining on Earth. Jean Aspen went where few dare to go, and she did it as a college-aged young woman. The reader is amazed at the matter-of-factness of her descriptions of pushing off of the bank into the mighty Yukon River, alone with a boyfriend and a puppy in an unweildy overladen canoe. Have they packed all the necessities to live a year alone in the Alaskan bush? Will they really be able to find a site and build a cabin before winter? Will they survive despite Aspen's own admission that there odds at making it through the winter are perhaps 50/50? And obviously, though you know they make it somehow, you constantly want to know HOW? What was it like to live through a dark deathly-cold winter on the edge of the Arctic Circle, under the Brooks Range in a cabin built by two with no outside help? What does Alaska's bush really look like? What does it FEEL like to be out there alone? What are they going to eat? How will they stay warm? Don't read ahead! This is truly an adventure few have ever lived to tell about. Descriptions of the sights, sounds and emotions are beautiful.

5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME true stoy!
This is an incredible adventure story written in in a very descriptive manner. It's unbelievable what we can endure if we put our minds to it. This is a MUST READ!

5-0 out of 5 stars A ture wilderness journey into the unknown
I was at a friends house when I first picked up Arctic Daughter by Jean Aspen. I sat down and started to read the first few pages, two hours later it was time to go home and I was still reading this book. My friends were kind enough to let me borrow the book and I finished it the next day. I returned the book to my friends and went directly to the book store and ordered it. I was told it was out of print and I was very upset. I then spent about two weeks searching to find a copy of Arctic Daughter and I was lucky enough to find a new copy. I gave it to my wife and she also read it in one day. This book takes the reader to a place that many people will never see. The courage and spirit of true adventure in Jean Aspen prevails in this book and it is a shame it is out of print. I would encourage any person who has the dream of "chucking" it all away in order to live a life more simple to pick up a copy of this book. It is the real deal and puts the adventurers' life in a new perspective. A must read! ... Read more


89. Mind over Matter: The Epic Crossing of the Antarctic Continent
by RANULPH FIENNES
list price: $21.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385312164
Catlog: Book (1994-05-01)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Sales Rank: 565051
Average Customer Review: 3.22 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, honest and interesting
This is the account of his journey across Antartica - on foot, pulling sleds - with Michael Stroud. In it Ranulph describes, not only his journey, but insights into the human mind. It is supported by extracts from the diaries of both men, as well as extracts from books of previous Antartic explorers. Some people feel the need to push themselves to extremes, others (like me) like to read about them, and this is an intelligently written, honest and interesting book.
There are absolutely no bears mentioned in it, and it is a pity that one reviewer felt the need to give it one star without ever having read it.

1-0 out of 5 stars THERE ARE NO POLAR BEARS IN ANTARTICA!
I have not read the book, but the booklist review says he was in danger of being eaten by polar bears. I sure hope he did not write that in the book! There are no bears in the southern hemisphere, bears evolved in the northern hemisphere. Somebody better check their review!

3-0 out of 5 stars Some like it frozen
Polar masochism! This is sick. Why would anyone want to walk across a frozen desert the size of europe? To prove they can suffer? What is gained by freezing parts of ones body and then cutting them off? Who wants crotch rot, kidney stones, piles, and freezing cold misery? This is gruesome to the point of making me wonder if this man needs psychiatric help for self mutilation.

Much more fun are the people who do this (crossing Antarctica) using parachute (wind) pulled sleds, or even dog teams. But this book is something else. I get upset just looking at the pictures of the naked, emaciated author, close ups of necrotic tissue...YUK!

5-0 out of 5 stars An appropriate title
As I read this book I found it hard to believe that what I was reading was actually written by one of the adventurers. I was sure that I must be reading an account of their expidition based on one of their diaries that was recoverd next to their bodies. That Fiennes and Strand found it withing themselves to keep going is hard to believe, even now, and yet they achieved their goal. I would rank what they did one of the most "out there" of human achievements. And for that reason alone this book begs to be read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Tells it like it is
I couldn't put it down -- extremely honest account (at least I had no trouble imagining that I'd feel the same way in similar circumstances, supposing I survived them). ... Read more


90. Arctic Alphabet: Exploring the North from A to Z
by Wayne Lynch
list price: $6.95
our price: $6.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1552093344
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: Firefly Books Ltd
Sales Rank: 475814
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

World-class photographer and science writer Wayne Lynch takes us toone of his favorite parts of the world: the Arctic. Using a plant, an animal ora phenomenon for each letter of the alphabet, Lynch describes the unique ways inwhich systems for living differ where temperature and light can be amazinglyextreme. But Lynch also dispels the myth of the Arctic as a perpetually frozenlandscape by introducing us to the birds, mammals, insects and plant life thatthrive in the short yet glorious sun-filled days of summer.

Wayne Lynch is the author of award-winning books and television documentaries, apopular guest lecturer and a well-known wildlife photographer. He is also theauthor of "Bear, Bears, Bears," "Penguins!" and the adult books "A is forArctic" and "Loons," also published by Firefly Books. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Interested in the Arctic?
This is not your typical alphabet book. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by a natural phenomenon of the Arctic and has three or four paragraphs of text about that subject. The facts in the text are interesting. Did you know that the fastest moving glacier in the Arctic, located in Greenland, can move at a speed of up to two feet an hour? That beluga whales can sometimes lift the ice to get a quick breath of air before it dives again? That quivut is the soft, fine wool of the muskox? If you read this book, you'll find these and many other interesting facts. My third grade students make alphabet books and this is a wonderful example for them to pattern their writing after. The photographs that accompany the text are stunning also. The author, Dr. Wayne Lynch, has chosen unusual subjects for the book. This serves to expand the minds of the children who read or are read this book. For example, some new topics for my students include jaeger, kittiwake, lousewort, xanthoria, yellowcoat, and zooplankton. The author explains these topics in a way that children will understand. ... Read more


91. Skating to Antarctica: A Journey to the End of the World
by Jenny Diski
list price: $14.00
our price: $14.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060957964
Catlog: Book (2001-07-01)
Publisher: Ecco
Sales Rank: 615651
Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

So writes Jenny Diski of the parent she has neither seen nor heard from since 1966, the year her father died.

In search of an escape from her suicidal sexually abusive parents, Diski spends her teenage years in the oblivion of heavy drug use and psychiatric wards. As an adult she finds a new haven: the boundless, blank iciness of Antarctica where everything "is colored white and filled with a singing silence."

This blistering account interweaves the story of the author's journey to the end of the earth, her daughter's search for Diski's missing mother, and Diski's own search of her memory-hardened heart. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars well-written, heartfelt and self-involved
"The one truly generous act of my mother's that I could really put my finger on: her leaving me alone," says Jenny Diski in her memoir, Skating to Antarctica (28). Diski reveals herself to the world by taking the reader on a journey through her troubled childhood with sexually abusive and suicidal parents, drug abuse and psychiatric institutions, her daughter's search for her mother and a trip to Antarctica. It is a well-written and heartfelt, although sometimes too self-involved, book about the search for peace of mind.
The book alternates between Jenny Diski's journey to Antarctica and her past. The balance creates a link between the two stories and allows the reader to understand her thoughts and actions better in both settings. The detailed and approachable way that she describes the setting and her own feelings really helps the reader become immersed in the book. Although a very serious work, it is lightened by Diski's dark humor. She takes her poor relationship with her mother very lightly. She is able to describe a possible meeting with her mother on the street as and encounter with, "a wild, screaming old woman coming down the street, probably with a kitchen knife in her hand, yelling at me," with ease (29). Perhaps this is her way of dealing with bigger problems, but it adds interest and much needed humor to the book.
This memoir is a much more heartfelt and close view of Jenny Diski than her personality is described to be. She continuously reveals her need for nothing and shows her fear of closeness. She says that she avoids waiting, puts things off till another day like Scarlett O'Hara and cherishes distant and superficial relationships like with the Roths (83). Anything that gets too close might hurt her and she stays away from it. However, when reading this book one does not feel any barrier. She is very honest and upfront when telling her story.
A prevalent theme throughout the book is the distinction between memory and truth, fiction and nonfiction. She says, "Memory is continually created, a story told and retold, using jigsaw pieces of experience. It's utterly unreliable in some ways, because who can say whether the feeling or emotion that seems to belong to the recollection actually belongs to it..." (154). She is also very wary of the truth, saying that it is subjective (100-1). Regarding fiction and nonfiction she says, "There are infinite ways of telling the truth, including fiction, and infinite ways of evading the truth, including nonfiction" (229). Diski not only doubts the 'truth,' she says that often it doesn't matter. For her, with so many repressed memories, mixed reactions and disbelief, it is better to simply remember things the way she wants to. She portrays this very well in the book so that the reader understands her perspective.
The fact that this is a memoir allows her to share her own reactions and feelings. The memoir genre enables her to express a greater degree of closeness and personal relationship with her audience than other genres would. She is given liberty to give her own interpretations of her memories instead of feeling obligated to stick to the straight facts. I also find her book to be a necessary release from the tension and pressure that her life has created. One gets the impression that Diski wrote this book more for herself than anyone. At times this gets in the way of her writing.
Even though the book is very well written and heartfelt, and Diski's messages are conveyed well, sometimes it becomes repulsively self-involved. At times it is difficult for the reader to relate and not be turned-off by self-pity and her self-involved approach to life. An example of her whiney attitude is shown when she is deciding if she wants to set foot on Antarctica. She says, "The rush of pleasure at not doing what is expected of you, of not doing what you expect of yourself. If it was originally about disappointing other people, it has become refined into a matter of pleasing myself" (228). Such self-centeredness can create a distraction for the reader. Despite the fact that it is a memoir and a portal into Diski's personal experiences and thoughts, at times the things she says are better suited for a journal than a publication.
Skating to Antarctica is really about Jenny Diski's search for peace of mind. Does she find it? I think she does. Although she may not completely deal with all of her issues, she definitely comes to a point of peace with her past. She said, "Some things I'll never get away from, not even in the farthest reaches of the South Atlantic, but, with a bit of effort, I can recognize them as a passing wind blowing through me, chilling me to the bone, an act of nature that isn't personal, or not any more. The past can still make me shiver, but no bones are broken" (175). One criticism of the book that I find completely invalid is that it lacks closure. It is true that she does not reunite with her mother and make amends. That is not the kind of closure needed. In addition to the quote on p. 175, on p. 250 Diski expresses contentment in knowing about her mother. This is a true account of a person's life, and it does not end in a fairy tale way. It ends in a manner true to Jenny Diski and true to life.

4-0 out of 5 stars St. Olaf Review
Skating to Antarctica Review Essay
Jenny Diski presents to her readers the story of her painful childhood, venturing from her sexually abusive parents to her journey through poor foster care, until she finally escaped with the help of Doris Lessing. Her story appears inspirational and hopeful to those of an unfortunate background, making the reader believe one can achieve happiness and success in their own life, aside from what their past held.
From the very opening sentence Diski makes it known that: "I am not entirely content with the degree of whiteness in my life" (p.1). Her goal of reaching pure, white Antarctica seems natural here, it seems to simply be another step in her healing process. However, as the memoir continues, it seems as if Jenny changes her mind, describing her experiences on land "neither white nor solitary" (p. 165). Her depiction of the manner in which her father and mother treated her begin to play a more prominent role and it is exposed to the reader that Jenny Diski may not be the calm, composed, healed adult she pretends to be.
Skating to Antarctica emerges from a strong base in which Diski allows us to view her past and the horrific events and people she had to surpass in order to become the thriving author that she is today. Defensive from the very beginning, Diski attempts to convince her reader's that she has forgiven her father for leaving and her mother for the embarrassment and ridicule she caused her as a child. Lack of Jenny's "true"
Psychological healing is obviously apparent the entire way through her memoir, beginning with her idea that "disappointment is a safety net, to be relished in a secret knowing by the disappointed" (p. 8). This statement alone uncovers the idea that she lives her life in this sort of "net," just waiting to be hurt by everyone and anyone.
Trust is a huge issue in Jenny's life, an act she has a very difficult time both believing in and having faith in. She refers to the matter of truth as: "...dangerous, the truth was poison" (p. 98). Her non-ability to trust the people in her life proves that she still holds bitterness and resentment for her parents. Had her parents not harmed her in the way that they did, she's saying, she would be able to trust with no hindrances.
Immaturity also plays a part in this well written memoir. Diski, on the defensive, claims that she has moved on from her childhood, wanting no contact with her mother, yet she has not forgiven her. "The one truly generous act of my mother's that I could really put my finger on: her leaving me alone" (p. 28). Her dismissive attitude towards anything positive her mother did for her as a child is completely suffocated by Jenny's anger. She spends so much time challenging her reader to believe she has moved on, yet her defensiveness created the obvious idea that she has not.
While there are weak points in Skating to Antarctica, Jenny Diski writes in such a way that one can not help but be drawn to her story. Her depictions of Antarctica, while she discovers it may not be the place she can achieve pure whiteness, she makes it known that she did enjoy herself:
"It was, however, the most exhilarating ride I've ever
had, fast and furious, the motor buzzing angrily against
a wind that howled past my ears and made my eyes
water salt tears to match the salt spray drenching
my eyes" (p. 167).
While sometimes she acts though action and adventure is something she loathes, ("a phone call initiating activity is never so welcome as the one canceling it" (p. 66) here, one can see that she does enjoy getting out and experiencing new things. It is times when she tells of the things that are good in her life that her defense is down and the reader can sense a true feeling of who Jenny Diski is. Had her entire memoir consisted of passages where she was invigorated, rather than defensive or depressed, she may have been able to present herself as a more contented person.
Progress seems to have been made through the book, while Jenny learns new things about her childhood through Mrs. Gold and Mrs. Levine, however, once she learns her mother dead, Chloe asks if she is glad to know. Jenny's response: "Mmm. Yes, I think it is" (p. 250) makes one second guess whatever progress one had hoped she had made. Jenny Diski was not concrete in her thoughts even about her mother's death, making her audience question if she can be convinced the things in her past that aren't dead still don't need to be a part of her life any longer.

4-0 out of 5 stars Two Extraordinary Voyages In One!
"Antarctica. And along with it a desire as commanding as any sexual compulsion that Antarctica was what I wanted, and therefore I had to have it." So writes Jenny Diski in her strange, humorous and often painful memoir cum travelogue to the bottom of the world. "The Arctic would have been easier, but I had no desire to head north. I wanted white and ice for as far as the eye could see and I wanted it in the one place in the world that was uninhabited."

Ms. Diski weaves two voyages into one here - the longed for trip she made a few years ago to the white land of snow and ice and a parallel journey into her own heart, soul and past. Her descriptions of her fellow travelers, boredom, group activities and various ports of call are often quite witty and caustic. Her take on the natural world, elephant seals, variety of birds, penguins, and the barren landscape in different shades of white are vivid and, at times, haunting.

Also explored in "Skating to Antarctica" is Ms. Diski's past - her suicidal and abusive parents, stays in psychiatric institutions, an almost lifelong estrangement from her mother and her own search of her "memory-hardened heart." The reader is saved from depression at these revelations through the author's extraordinary use of humor at her desire to bury her childhood memories under, literally, tons of snow.

Diski's writing style is spare, clipped and very effective. Given some of the painful content it might sound ridiculous to write that I "enjoyed" the book - but I did. Her descriptive narrative of the trip to the world's southern-most continent are fascinating - not just another travel book, and her personal revelations are striking in their honesty.
JANA

3-0 out of 5 stars Not your stereotypical memoir
In the only 250 pages of Skating to Antarctica, Jenny Diski manages to captivate her audience with stunning anecdotes and descriptions that send the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions until the last page where it ends; plain and simple, just like it began. Behind the guise of memoir she repeatedly lectures to the reader on the value of truth and its many bastardized forms. When all is said and done, this narrative leaves you wanting more, yet glad to close the back cover.
Diski's autobiography sets and maintains its direction right from the start. Her dedication to her daughter naturally flows into the first sentence, "For Chloe without whom...I am not entirely content with the degree of whiteness in my life." From here Jenny springs into her love of everything white, which originated from her time spent institutionalized for mental disorders. In the end she travels to the greatest white canvas on Earth, Antarctica. Diski meshes stories from her past with those of the present in a frame story format that at times is confusing, but portrays and fully explains her actions throughout her troubled years.
Jenny Diski was the child of sexually abusive dysfunctional parents. Her father was a con-artist, her mother a self-serving, mentally ill woman. Jenny's future hung in limbo. Her parents split up multiple times and both attempted suicide at one point or another. Diski's eventual mental hospitalization stemmed from problems at home. This book attracts readers because often the reader can relate to Jenny's desire for a "normal" childhood. Skating to Antarctica brings a person inside the head of one who was subjected to constant sorrow and lack of stability as a child. Jenny's account informs whoever leafs through her memoir of the importance of providing a good home life for one's offspring. Her less than perfect childhood and distaste for her parents is ever-present when numerous times Diski repeats the phrase, "my father died in 1966 and I haven't seen or heard from my mother since that date" (20). I found myself on the rollercoaster feeling sorry for Jenny at these points, but soon climbed to a state of anger when she remains a static character throughout her memoir.
When I think of autobiographies/memoirs, I envision someone's completed life retold to many awaiting viewers. Jenny's "incomplete" account shocked me. I flipped pages in hope that her problems would vanish and she would become a "normal" human being, but was disappointed that when by page 250, Jenny still had emotional and psychological issues. My hopes for a so-called happy ending vanquished, leaving me frustrated and glad to set the book aside. However a disappointment this may be, in hindsight this technique left a lasting impact. This unresolved ending caused me to realize that some things do not and cannot vacate one's psyche, ever!
Within her sorrowful narrative Jenny masterfully weaves imagery at its finest. She can describe white to an extent that it becomes a color or an emotion as she does here in a relapse of depression: "White walls, staring into peopleless landscapes, heading for the snow and ice. Not to stay, but to be in it for a while. Death, of course, as Melville knows, is what it is. A toying with the void that finally toys with us. In the face of the waiting I can't escape, I head straight for its image and rest there for a while" (191). Reading this passage chills me with how well it portrays someone with a mental illness, wanting to visit Death for tea time. Jenny also throws a curveball with some vulgar language in her "accurate" description of seals, which she names the "flaccid [male genitalia] seal." That sure came out of left field. Jenny maintains a delicate, easy-reading prose but then throws in phrases that make the reader do a double-take and reread to see if she actually said that. Words like "[bird poop]" and the "[fudge]-it factor" just jump off the page, but without delay we're back to the flowing narrative leaving me puzzled over what just happened.
Truth and doubt appear be focal points in Jenny Diski's writing. However, I found her views on truth to be almost hypocritical. When each of her parents shares the truths about their spouse, Diski brings up the point that truth is relative to a situation; this I found striking, yet understandable. She also brings up the idea of relative truth in stereotypes. Someone no learned of a particular culture would easily believe a fact from someone they trusted not knowing that it is false. Hypocrisy comes into play when Diski instills doubt in the mind of the reader regarding the validity of her narrative, which I think is bad. She says that there are "infinite ways of evading truth, including non-fiction" (229), and quotes "Malone Dies": "I wonder if I am not talking yet again about myself. Shall I be incapable, to the end, of lying on any other subject?" The reader is led to ponder what is fact or fiction within Diski's autobiography. Maybe she did meet with her mother between 1966 and her death, but chose to leave that out to strengthen her argument of an intolerable childhood. Only Jenny knows.
Despite some unanswered questions about Jenny's insanity, failed marriage, and future, she successfully writes both to relieve her internal pain, and, in my opinion, to inform the reader on the importance of being attentive parents and the value of seeking help when needed. Jenny's experience should never be repeated. Her novel flows taking the reader in and out of intense subject matter in a way that makes it palatable while expressing true emotion. Though jerks exist between mental jumps, Jenny pulls the reader back into her dismal life and continues on. Skating to Antarctica is a thought-provoking memoir that intertwines humor, anger, and sadness with ideas of truth, death, and depression that ultimately leaves the reader in shock and reflection, a reaction typical of this subject matter. My prayer for Jenny to rise above her troubles and become "normal" went unanswered, leaving me grateful to put this book back on my shelf.

4-0 out of 5 stars White Oblivion
Skating to Antarctica
by Jenny Diski

"I am not entirely content with the degree of whiteness in my life. My bedroom is white: white walls, icy mirrors, white sheets and pillowcases, white slatted blinds."(1)
Jenny Diski's book, Skating to Antarctica explores the meaning of whiteness in her life. Jenny clearly states her psychological need to have whiteness all around her, and it annoys her if that isn't so. This whiteness that she desperately wants represents her need to forget her past. Jenny says "White hospital sheets seemed to hold out the promise of what I really wanted: a place of safety, a white oblivion. Oblivion, strictly speaking was what I was after..." The meaning of oblivion, according to the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary, means the fact or condition of forgetting or having forgotten. Throughout this book, Jenny searches for this white oblivion by traveling to Antarctica, but her past always seems to interrupt this search for pure whiteness.
Skating to Antarctica is a memoir about a woman who struggles with her sexually, physically, and verbally abusive parents. Jenny tells her story of her past, by weaving it together with her adventure to Antarctica. Eventually, the problems of her past resurface because of her daughter's inquisitive nature.
Through this idea of whiteness, Diski presents the novel in a clear precise, way. She paints the book in images of whiteness, and by doing so gives the reader an idea of the world that Jenny would like to live in, of pure whiteness. Diski sets the reader up to understand this need for whiteness, so her longing to travel to Antarctica does not come as a surprise because of the lack of colors that exist there.
Jenny's comments lead one to believe that a lot of objects that surround her in life remind her of her past. Diski allows the reader to see how color interrupts Jenny's world, and exactly to what extent it interrupts her world. Jenny said, "I wanted my white bedroom extended beyond reason. That was Antarctica, and only Antarctica." (Page five) Jenny's strength is giving her reader the sense of this desperate desire to get away from color, as if color was filling her brain and she needed to escape. By surrounding herself in all white she doesn't run the risk of running into any of those painful memories.
Diski describes the quantum theory of how one is able to put things into a box, and forget about what is in the box and not know if the things in the box exist or not. It is this very box that has interrupted the author's world of whiteness. Diski has creatively used the quantum theory in such a way that it reveals Jenny's state of mind.
On page fifty, Diski focuses on Jenny leaving to see a glacier. But what is interesting about this, is how Diski intricately places a "dead furry thing" (Page fifty) in her path. Diski demonstrates her creative skill of describing how the muscles of the animal are gone and how the legs are cocked at different angles. Jenny is unable to focus on the whiteness but on the problem set before her. One can see how Jenny is unable to get beyond her memories, and that they still interrupt her white oblivion.
After Jenny thinks of her mother, and the possible conclusion that she may be dead, she sees white in the sky. "..[A]nd all I could see was a shadowed white out there, unless I raised myself up and then I would see the inky sea and shadowed white." (Page eighty-three) Diski once again, subtly drives the meaning home about whiteness, that it is there, and that it just on the horizon, and she's about to reach that conclusion, that final peace of mind.
Diski's attention to details becomes a key element to this book. She allows readers to know more about the barriers that keep her from reaching oblivion, and how that affects her. On page 177, Diski repels the idea that her parents are caring and loving towards her by focusing on the behaviors and interactions of the penguins. She exudes the emotion that she wants this kind of relationship that the penguins have with each other. Another example of Diski's gift of attention is on page 221. She discusses how the ice burgs are blue and have many different levels making the parallel to her own life.
Diski's biggest weakness is not satisfying the reader's desire to see Jenny in Antarctica. The book has focused on her deep psychological desire to be there, and one is left wondering if she was able to get her whiteness and be engulfed in her oblivion. By stopping at this point, Diski leaves the reader wondering if these memories of hurt and sadness can never be erased, or if she went to Antarctica and embraced the whiteness of the land, and her oblivion.
Diski's grace and her skill of writing is what makes this book work. Her gentle and subtle way of depicting Jenny Diski's desperate desire to be overcome in whiteness and her "passion for oblivion" (Page 235) is relieving in the sense that she doesn't overbearingly reveal all of her emotions and feelings, and leaves room for implications to be made. Diski's ability to paint the world white, and splash color is incredibly delightful. Jenny Diski certainly does bring new meaning to whiteness in her book, Skating to Antarctica. ... Read more


92. Cold Oceans: Adventures in Kayak, Rowboat, and Dogsled
by Jon Turk, Harpercollins, Jonathan Turk
list price: $24.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060191473
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Harpercollins
Sales Rank: 1091024
Average Customer Review: 3.71 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

From its opening passages, Jon Turk's Cold Oceans chronicles explorations in both exterior and interior landscapes. In honest, accessible prose, Turk retraces more than two decades of his varied and stirring adventures--attempting to round Cape Horn solo in a kayak, rowing the Northwest Passage, dogsledding the east coast of Baffin Island, and kayaking from Ellesmere Island to Greenland. As Turk plunges headlong through icy seas, repeated and assorted blunders, and bouts of personal lows, he transcends mere adventure storytelling to explore a changing notion of himself, deepening relationships, and the nature of failure and true success. These passages contain some of Cold Oceans's greatest riches.

With a host of explorers along as inspirational and literary companions, Turk evokes a landscape of life and history intertwined. After a daring 15-hour crossing to Greenland, Turk wrestles with polar explorer Robert Peary's notion of success, defined by fame and fortune, concluding, "What mattered was that he [Peary] communicated his passion to the world." And this is the success that Turk has achieved in Cold Oceans.

Although the saga of choosing a life of adventure to stave off a more rooted and standard existence may seem a common tale, it is Turk's contemplation of this lifestyle choice that offers some of the book's finest insights. Ultimately, Turk's wanderings reveal how a thirst for adventure can at once drive, fragment, and unify a life. This incongruity is perhaps one of a traveler's greatest ponderings, and Cold Oceans confronts it boldly, piercing the heart of what it means to adventure. --Byron Ricks ... Read more

Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Cold Oceans are chilly & fine!
A wonderful read! Great for those long winter evenings beside a warm fire, a cup of tea & Jon Turk as he candidly recounts some of his solo & fascinating sea-going adventures of shipwrecks off Cape Horn to the seas of the Northwest Passage; from Arctic blizzards to an ancient Inuit migration route to Greenland - all by kayak, rowboat or dogsled. Jon Turk is also well-versed in the history of the places he is drawn to which gives us a broader perspective. A pleasant & pensive read. Makes a great gift! ..............................

1-0 out of 5 stars egomania on three continents
When thinking of adventure travel, one may think of a fierce wind almost ripping our grip from the climbing rope, or a sudden decision that turns out to be just the right thing to do, or some semi-profound recollections after letting the dust and the tequila settle for a bit. One often forgets the mosquitoes, the smelly socks, the disgust at seeing a minor lapse of attention turn into a major problem, or a miserable and exquisitely annoying travel companion. This book gives a superb illustration of the latter danger in adventure travel. The writer is annoyingly and gratingly obsessed with his own ego and "the trip," whatever he wants that to be. With a blatant disregard for the sensitivities of his companions or the dictates of common sense and good judgment, the author relates four journeys. Three turn out to be failures, thankfully with no loss of life. At least he is commendably honest about that. Lesson learned, in capital letters and boldfaced type: Be fairly careful about whom you choose to journey with.

1-0 out of 5 stars Great adventures but...
Cold Oceans has a lot of potential but the author reveals too much of himself. Constant references about his personality and details of his outbursts are a downer. He relies on luck and risk taking as opposed to planning and knowledge of his surroundings and means of travel. For a much more enjoyable read with better emphasis on local knowledge try "Homelands" or "On Celtic Tides." I certainly won't buy another Jon Turk book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A journal of self-discovery in the Wild
Wonderful book. This title is as much a journal of one man's self discovery as it is a chronicle of his adventures. You start out not liking this man very much (at least I did), but as you near the end your opinion will have changed and you feel like you have been privy to something special.

I'm afraid that reviewer VanRoy missed the point. This is not a manual or chronicle of well planned, expertly executed high adventure, it's the story of one man's steps and mis-steps in life set against the back-drop of some of the worlds wildest and most inhospital places.

If you are looking for just an adventure chronicle you may want to go buy something like The Endurance (Shackleton's adventure to Antartica). If you want to experience a wonderful mix of adventure of body, mind, and spirit set against some of the most beautiful places on earth get this book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Stop whining!
Okay, so he did some interesting and adventurous things. However, he did them all with a minimum of preparation and a maximum of ego, a bad combination under the best of circumstances. By his own admission, he did not enjoy travel for the sheer joy of travel and experiencing life. He completely missed the point every step of the way. In the process, he casually dismissed his children, the woman he loved, and he endangered himself and others. He mistreated his dog-sled team by not properly training them, leading to death and injury. And on every step of the way, he whined about his misfortunes at not being "successful". This man will NEVER be happy in life. Skip this one. ... Read more


93. The Last Wilderness: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
by Kennan Ward
list price: $24.95
our price: $15.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1930700032
Catlog: Book (2001-09-07)
Publisher: Wildlight Press
Sales Rank: 302592
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Author-photographer Kennan Ward unveils true adventures in the wilderness of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northern Alaska.The Last Wilderness documents the remote wilderness, wild plants, scenic rivers and rarely seen wildlife.The adventure starts in 1987 with updates through summer 2001.The book concerns the mostt contraversial and debated lands in North America."Perhaps more important than wildlife numbers is the fact that the refuge is one of the last places on earth where human impact is nearly non-existent.It is a place where nature's interactions are still intact, where wilderness endures.Kennan Ward's photographs provide potent testimony that the Ardtic Refuge is a trule exceptional place." Yvon Chouinard, Owner & Founder Patagonia, Inc. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful project - Thank you to the Wards!
What a beautiful celebration of an area under threat. Thank you to the Wards for their focus and drive. We hope to see more work from these talented artists.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nature Performs
It is amazing how this book gives you a personal feel for the animals and their environment. The wildlife is perfectly comfortable and nature performs for Kennan Ward. He has the connection and a gift for capturing nature in its most potent moments. This book is a work of love and pristine beauty! If this land is allowed to be exploited for oil, this could be the last record of this incredible wilderness.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: to Be or Not to Be
Kennan Ward's book contains stunning photographs of the land, plants, and animals of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Mr. Ward writes from his personal experiences as a photographer and naturalist. Kennan published this book to help keep this pristine wilderness area a place of incredible beauty and wildlife diversity. His book makes a strong visual argument for the case of preserving this wildlife area from oil drilling. He does this by showing photographs of the significant environmental impact of oil companies in Alaska. I hope this book will not be a reminder of what the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was like, but instead, what it will continue to be for future generations of people and wildlife that come to this "last wilderness." I would highly recommend this book to any person who would like to learn more about the wildlife and environmental issues pertaining to the Refuge.

5-0 out of 5 stars A World Worth Saving
Beautiful photo essay on the Alaska Wilderness with a hopeful bequest to future generations of animals and all who love America's wild places.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Important National Asset!
So many Americans know so little about this great gift our forefathers have given us - The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The fact remains that this coastal plain supports the highest density of mammals and birds in the arctic. Kennan Ward's book brilliantly helps us understand what's at stake here. The photographs alone are priceless! We believe that it would be a sin to rob future generations of the opportunity to understand this virgin land. Anyone who cares about America's heritage should take time to read this masterwork and understand what's at stake. ... Read more


94. Mountains of Madness: A Scientist's Odyssey in Antarctica
by John A. Long, John Long
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0309070775
Catlog: Book (2001-02-15)
Publisher: Joseph Henry Press
Sales Rank: 569021
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Mountains of Madness is a moving tale of science, exploration, and human endurance.It is the story of how real science is practiced in a unique and demanding setting.Rather than a presentation of research findings, this book recounts what life is like in the field, where scientists come close to sacrificing their very lives for the sake of advancing human knowledge.Like the polar explorers from the early 1900s in whose footsteps they follow, this team of scientists face the unknown and the unpredictable in the pure and simple quest for knowledge. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Read
John Long's "Mountains of Madness" tells the story of the author's fossil-hunting expeditions in Antarctica. The book's title comes from H.P. Lovecraft's jarring epic "At the Mountains of Madness" -- a classic novella of science and horror set in the southern continent. The author's references to Lovecraft's terrifying tale effectively convey the splendor and danger of the Antarctic wilderness. Long also writes with a wonderful sense of humour --his warmth and charm draw the reader into a entertaining and informative narrative of scientific discovery and individual experience. This book is a must read for anyone who enjoys stories of popular science and adventure.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
Dr. Long's narrative of his expedition to the Antarctic is fascinating and enlightening. One does not need to be a paleontologist or scientist to appreciate or understand the ramifications of the findings made during his expedition. He is also refreshingly honest and forthright with his personal discoveries and the ramifications of those discoveries on his life. If you are interested in the Antarctic, our Planet Earth and adventure, if you are interested in a writer and scientist who is candidly straightforward, especially about himself, this is a book for you! ... Read more


95. ANTARCTIC TRAVELLER
by KATHA POLITT
list price: $14.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394748956
Catlog: Book (1982-02-12)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 668340
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Turning 30
This is an undiscovered gem, cherished by those who have read it. That Katha Politt no longer publishes poems and devotes herself to writing columns for the Nation is a great tragedy. Her columns are inevitably inconsistent and often predictable. Her poetry is extraordinary and vibrant, although perhaps not to the taste of the same people who admire her column. My favorite poem might be Turning Thirty: Home, you write feverishly in all five notebooks at once, then faint into bed dazed with ambition and too many cigarettes...... Oh, what were you doing, why weren't you paying attention that piercing blue day, not a cloud in the sky, when suddenly choices ceased to mean infinite possibilities and became instead deciding what to do without ..... (forgive the typography)

5-0 out of 5 stars A delight
This is a collection of poems that are both accessible and intelligent. It's hard to imagine a literate reader who would not find a great deal to admire and enjoy here.

3-0 out of 5 stars Of some interest, but also disappointing
Katha Pollitt is certainly a better writer when, as an essayist, she is discussing issues of Women's choices in contemporary society. This book is just a bit disappointing when having read her journalism and essays, but one shouldn't hold that against her. I found the shorter poems to be the most interesting, and risk taking. ... Read more


96. Ambassador to the Penguins: A Naturalist's Year Aboard a Yankee Whaleship
by Eleanor Mathews
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1567922465
Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
Publisher: David R. Godine Publisher
Sales Rank: 197606
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars a gorgeous book....
While my husband reads a steady and salty diet of historical sailing sagas, I generally feed on fiction. But when he finished AMBASSADOR TO THE PENGUINS, he passed the book over the wicker table that sits between our armchairs and insisted I dig in. Set in 1912-13, the book intimately follows Robert Cushman Murphy who worked as a naturalist for ten months aboard a Yankee whaleship. Under the leadership of the cranky and parsimonious Captain Cleveland, the Daisy sailed for South Georgia Island in the Antarctic waters, successfully gathering blubber and spermaceti from the hapless whales it encountered along the way, unsuccessfully hoping for the valuable ambergris.

Through Murphy's meticulous observations of every albatross, cockroach, shark, and crew member, I felt as though I was on the ship with him. His delight at every encounter with the natural world---penguins, whales, leopard seals, and skua colonies---pulled me into his scientist's mind. I worried about the marooned prisoner colony on the islands of Fernando de Noronha, the slaughter of elephant seals, and the ferocious storms Murphy braved on solo trips in his dory to gather specimens. I fretted over the crews' symptoms of beriberi late in the voyage, and the disappointments at ports when Murphy got no word from home. Fortunately for all readers, the young naturalist had made the difficult decision to leave his new bride, Grace Emeline, to leave on the chance-of-a-lifetime trip. The resultant letters to Grace, from which the author (his granddaughter) produces many of his quotes, are full of celebration, despair, and humor. This gorgeous book with plenty of photographs, illustrations, and excellent writing, held me spellbound. It may take me a few days to get my land legs back under me and start to live in our "easy" century. ... Read more


97. Hooray For Antarctica! (Our Amazing Continents)
by April Pulley Sayre
list price: $7.95
our price: $7.16
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Asin: 0761319921
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Sales Rank: 254727
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98. Ice Blink: The Tragic Fate of Sir John Franklin's Lost Polar Expedition
by ScottCookman, Scott Cookman
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471404209
Catlog: Book (2001-02-16)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 338661
Average Customer Review: 3.52 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Absorbing…artfully narrat[es] a possible course of events in the expedition’s demise, based on the one official note and bits of debris (including evidence of cannibalism) found by searchers sent to look for Franklin in the 1850s. Adventure readers will flock to this fine regaling of the enduring mystery surrounding the best-known disaster in Arctic exploration."--Booklist

"A great Victorian adventure story rediscovered and re-presented for a more enquiring time."--The Scotsman

"A vivid, sometimes harrowing chronicle of miscalculation and overweening Victorian pride in untried technology…a work of great compassion."--The Australian

It has been called the greatest disaster in the history of polar exploration. Led by Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin, two state-of-the-art ships and 128 hand-picked men——the best and the brightest of the British empire——sailed from Greenland on July 12, 1845 in search of the elusive Northwest Passage. Fourteen days later, they were spotted for the last time by two whalers in Baffin Bay. What happened to these ships——and to the 129 men on board——has remained one of the most enduring mysteries in the annals of exploration. Drawing upon original research, Scott Cookman provides an unforgettable account of the ill-fated Franklin expedition, vividly reconstructing the lives of those touched by the voyage and its disaster. But, more importantly, he suggests a human culprit and presents a terrifying new explanation for what triggered the deaths of Franklin and all 128 of his men. This is a remarkable and shocking historical account of true-life suspense and intrigue. ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC
I was flipping the channels on early Sunday morning when for some reason I stopped on Book TV on C-Span 2 and caught Scott Cookman talking about the search for the Northwest Passege. It was the Apollo mission of its time. I have read a number books over Sir John Franklin Polar Expedition and this one by far is the best. Polar Exploration the 1800's was pretty dicey, even today it is. If you have any interest Polar Expedions and true mystery this is your book and it all rally happend.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spielberg should make it a movie!
Years ago I had read a National Geographic article about the discovery of the frozen bodies of three seamen from an ill fated expedition to explore the Arctic for the fabled Northwest Passage. The modern discoverers of the remains were scientists who performed an onsite autopsy to determine the cause of death, as the scope of the disaster had left many unanswered questions since it's occurrence in the mid-19th Century. The amount of knowledge that was gained after more than a century post mortem was impressive, and left a lasting memory of the unfortunate expedition: The Franklin Polar Expedition. When I saw the summary for the book The Ice Blink, I was immediately captured by the Franklin subject, and got the book.

The volume reads like a novel, written as it is by a well researched journalist rather than an historian. I read it in a single day, almost in a single sitting, so riveting is its human detail. The author covers the topic lengthily, including other equally unfortunate attempts to search for the passage to the Pacific by way of the northern most reaches of North America. He details the careers of the various officers as well as that of the Second Secretary of the British Admiralty, Sir John Barrow, who was as much a part of the events as any of the actual participants. He outlines the background of many of the enlisted men, and points out the financial incentives that encouraged them to go on the discovery voyage. He also points out that few who had been on one before, were actually willing to go for any amount of money!

Cookman's biography of the titular leader of the expedition, Sir John Franklin is illuminating, but that of the captain of the Terror is by far the most interesting. Francis Croiser was passed over as leader of the expedition on the basis of his social and ethnic status (Irish middle class) but was the most experienced of the officers with the rigors of polar exploration. It was ultimately on his shoulders that command fell after the early death of Franklin, and under the worst of all possible conditions. From physical remains found at the site of the abandoned ships and strewn across the landscape following the doomed men's path, it would appear that the flight from the pack ice in which both ships had been imprisoned for almost 18 months had been well and carefully planned by Croiser, and except for the desperation and hopelessness of their situation might well have brought a few home. He certainly seems to have given them the only real hope they had of survival.

The author paints a vivid picture of the retreat of the men, using the 19th Century reports of efforts to find survivors, those of modern investigators of known sites (like that mentioned above) and of reports by other explorers and natives who accidentally discovered remains. Putting the story together with what is known of other polar expeditions, what is known of the 19th Century naval organization, and the society of the time, and the information about the Arctic that 20th Century polar expeditions have given us, Cookman provides the reader with a thoroughly convincing tale of the early conditions of exploration.

What makes the story most intriguing, though, is the probable cause of the disaster itself, which turns out to have been staggering greed, incredible double dealing and total indifference to the fate and well being of others. There is definitely a message to the modern world in the tale of the "lowest bidder!" Steven Spielberg should make a movie of the entire affair! Read it, and see if you don't agree!

3-0 out of 5 stars More than Slightly Speculative
One reviewer has called the book "slightly speculative." That is too charitable. Cookman generally does not contradict known facts about the Franklin expedition, but he invents much more detail than he has evidence to support. The book is unsuitable for academic purposes, but it provides a compelling, though at times poorly written, story. I do not wish to be too harsh on the book. To its credit, many of Cookman's speculations are reasonable and provide information that serious historians withhold in their books on the expedition. It is best to read one of the many other books on the topic in order to know what parts of Ice Blink to trust, and which to take with a grain of salt.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good read, slightly speculative
The Fate of the Franklin expedition will most likely always be a mystery. This wonderful, speculative account is one of the best. The author does a step by step look at all the factors and issues leading to the disaster that cost the lives on 129 British Navy personnel in search of the Northwest passage. Franklin had left England in 1845 with two of the best equipped ships ever put to sea for arctic exploration, he had experienced officers and a compliment of 129 men. They were never seen again. Subsequently 50 expeditions searched and found only scraps of clues as to their disappearance.

This book claims the culprit was most likely Botulism in the canned meat. This speculation runs contradictory to that lead poisoning thesis put forward in 'Frozen in Time' and the fact that admiralty investigations proved the meat tins were not thoroughly sealed(thus Botulism couldn't have formed). Nevertheless this is one of the best books on the fate of the expedition. The author describes the final 'death march' south along King William Island and the subsequent cannibalism that took place. Excellent diagrams bring the ships to life and maps show the final route of Franklins last survivors. A must read for those interested in arctic survival and the riddle of Sir John Franklin.

Seth J Frantzman November 2003

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
The Arctic expedition of Sir John Franklin is one of the most infamous incidents in a series of infamous incidents that was Arctic exploration in the 19th century. This book retells his story, and the story of his men. In this, it is no different from the many other books on the subject, including Buried in Ice, a recent archeological study of the Franklin expedition. However, this book gives a name to the enemy: Stephen Goldner, who sold the canned food to the expedition. It is the perfect book for the novice, like myself, who just wants a basic overview of one of the more fascinating and tragic episodes in exploration history. ... Read more


99. Ice Bird: The Classic Story of the First Single-Handed Voyage to Antarctica
by David Lewis
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1574091514
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: Sheridan House
Sales Rank: 170480
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100. Berserk : My Voyage to the Antarctic in a Twenty-Seven-Foot Sailboat
by David Mercy
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1592282776
Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
Publisher: The Lyons Press
Sales Rank: 17213
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Book Description

An unforgettable sailing adventure to the world's most dangerous continent.
... Read more

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