Terra Antarctica: Looking into the Emptiest Continent

William L. Fox, Author . Trinity Univ. $35 (312p) ISBN 978-1-59534-015-3

The environment of Antarctica, "the largest and most extreme desert on Earth," is so foreign to our visual expectations that we are almost unable to perceive it. For Fox (Playa Works ), who studies the ways in which humans respond to such vast, empty spaces, it's the ideal location for examining the connection between cognition and extreme landscapes. In this insightful book, he chronicles his Antarctic sojourn during the austral summer of 2001–2002, recording his impressions of the landscape and the people who live at McMurdo Station on Ross Island and at Pole, a newer station a few hundred feet away from the South Pole. At the same time, he examines the works of the cartographers, painters and photographers who have depicted Antarctica from the days of the earliest explorations down to the present, showing how the human mind transforms pure space into landscape, then turns landscape into art. A fascinating look at the "windiest, coldest, highest, and driest continent on earth" and man's creative responses to it, this seems the perfect read after seeing The March of the Penguins . 40 color photos, 2 maps. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/15/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
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