1912: The Year the World Discovered Antarctica

Chris Turney. Counterpoint, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-58243-789-7
Turney, an Australian paleoclimatologist (Ice, Mud and Blood), describes the early 20th-century exploratory expeditions to Antarctica. Using a variety of sources including previously unpublished documents, Turney reproduces the drama of the race to reach the South Pole as well as the subsequent efforts of the original pathfinders and new expeditions to unlock the secrets of the continent. The two best-known explorers, Roald Amundsen, the first to reach the pole, and Robert Scott the leader of the ill-fated British expedition, are covered in detail, with evidence-based speculation on why and how Scott’s expedition ended tragically. In addition, Turney describes in depth the 1911–1912 German expedition of Wilhem Filchner and the 1911–1913 Australian expedition of Douglas Mawson. Filchner’s expedition is rife with misadventure, feuds, dangers, and death. Nonetheless the expedition made a substantial contribution to scientific knowledge of the Antarctic Convergence and the Atlantic Ocean’s circulation system. Mawson’s expedition is another harrowing tale, visited by death, omnipresent in the ruthlessly frigid environment, and by madness as well. Yet Mawson’s team managed to map much of Antarctica’s geology, and to describe its otherworldly flora and fauna. Turney successfully conveys the heroism and flaws of the early explorers as they challenged the preternatural dangers of Antarctica. Illus., maps. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/24/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
Paperback - 358 pages - 978-1-61902-192-1
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-1-84792-174-1
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-4481-3873-9
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Paperback - 358 pages - 978-1-921922-72-5
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