cover image Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole

Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole

Jerri Nielsen. Talk Miramax Books, $23.95 (362pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-6684-7

Nielsen spent the better part of 1999 as the physician for a team of 41 research scientists and their support group at the South PoleDa place that is completely unreachable for nine months of the year. To ""winter"" at the bottom of the world risks one's life; in addition, Nielsen was solely responsible for caring for the physical and emotional health of all the other ""Polies."" Yet, as she writes in a strong, lucid voice, she never felt afraid; in fact, as Nielsen became ""of the Ice""Da transformation that brings incredible clarity about what's most important in this life, one that unites the Polies in a life-and-death symbiosis in a place where resources are severely limited and the pristine beauty is incomparableDshe felt safer than she had ever felt since childhood. Through power outages, fires and equipment failures, Nielsen found courage, until the dayDdeep into the pitch-black winterDshe absentmindedly discovered a hard mass at the top of her right breast. Harnessing the love, skills and intelligence of her fellow Polies, and by consulting with experts in the U.S. via satellite and e-mail, Nielsen conducted a biopsy on herself, using ice as an anesthetic, and completed several rounds of chemotherapy before she could be rescuedDin a daring presummer attempt. Captivating and incisive, Nielsen does not present a memoir about illness; instead, this excellent book is about life, work and the depth of human resiliency and love. (Jan.) Forecast: Nielsen's work is on a par with the best of the popular survival genre. First serial rights have been sold to Talk magazine, and A&E is including Nielsen's story in its Biography series. Interviews have been scheduled with Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America and Elle magazine. All that adds up to a bestseller.