British explorer and conservationist Swan accounts for the inspiration, execution and purpose of his expeditions to visit the South and North Poles. In 1967, at the age of 11, Swan saw the 1948 film Scott of the Antarctic, and became obsessed with the doomed expedition of its iconic hero, Captain Robert F. Scott. Naming his 1985 expedition ""In the Footsteps of Scott,"" Swan successfully retraced the captain's 900 mile trek to the South Pole. In a subsequent hike to the North Pole (another 500 mile trip), Swan became the first person to have walked to both poles. He recounts big adventures, and setbacks almost as big (his first ship was crushed by polar ice, leaving him with a $1.2 million debt), on his journey to becoming a committed conservationist, dedicated to curbing climate change and preventing the exploitation of the Arctic and Antarctic (2041 is the year that the international treaty protecting Antarctica comes up for review). Though he describes his Antarctic expedition as a ""ridiculous undertaking-a twenty-something nobody raising five million dollars to embark on a useless quest,"" Swan's valuable lessons and thrilling narrative make it clear his efforts were far from fruitless.