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Monday, October 3, 2011

An Empire Of Ice

The book is An Empire Of Ice: Scott, Shackleton & The Heroic Age of Antarctic Science. If you might be interested in exploration and research under the most extreme conditions imaginable... this is the book for you. If you aren't into the scientific instruments and measurement techniques of more than a hundred years ago, do as I did, skip parts of it. That said, the author Larson's true tale is quite remarkable. The book also examines the "politics" of the race to the South Pole.

The crux of the "political" matter was that it wasn't a race at all. Roald Amundson, the Norweigian, got to the Pole first by ignoring scientific reasearch entirely. That research was the raison de'tre for the polar expedition to begin with according to the British. He also used sled dogs and other Artic survival techniques he had learned from the Eskimoes. Scott expeditions "manhauled sledges" a slower and more exhausting technique, that matched the Victorian view that exploration was a manhood test of will and courage. It certainly made for an interesting and might I add well research story.


Arkansas Patti said...

I'd probably skip the same parts but basically I love books like that. I enjoy reading about suffering and survival from a comfortable, climate contolled location. Thanks.

Christmas-etc... said...

This subject is simply fascinating. I have a friend who has been so inspired by Shackleton... he hasn't gone to the antarctic (yet) but he has sailed across the Atlantic ocean from Cape Town to Argentina! His wife bought him a signed edition of Shackleton's book for Christmas one year... I'll tell her about this book!
(I am always made very sad for the dogs and the cat on Shackleton's voyage south... But then, I would be :))

Janie said...

Sounds interesting. I'll check the local library for it.