The Storied Ice: Exploration, Discovery, and Adventure in Antarctica’s Peninsula Region recounts mankind’s dramatic history—from Magellan through the first years of the twenty-first century—in the part of the Antarctic regions below South America and the Atlantic Ocean. This part of the world, by far the most visited portion of the south polar regions, is not only a place of staggering scenic beauty and amazing wildlife, but also a locale with a long and fascinating human history.
Several expeditions to Antarctica’s Peninsula Region are well known, in particular, the amazing story of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance expedition. The Storied Ice dramatically retells that story, along with many other less familiar, but fascinating, adventures—tales of early explorers, sealers, whalers, seven expeditions (including Endurance) during Antarctica’s 1897–1917 Heroic Age, pioneer aviators, and scientists. . . . All this is woven together into a coherent whole, placing the individually exciting tales in a historical context that breathes new life into even the best known of them. Abundant quotes from the explorers’ accounts enrich the text, as do the nearly 100 illustrations and more than 30 maps. The Storied Ice is unique in the rich literature on Antarctica, the only modern comprehensive Antarctic history work that both focuses specifically on the historically exciting Antarctic Peninsula and tells its complete story.
The Antarctic summer of 2011–12 marks the centennial of numerous momentous events in Antarctica’s Heroic Age of exploration. Among these: Roald Amundsen’s December 1911 reaching the South Pole; Robert Falcon Scott’s achieving the same goal five weeks later, in January 1912, and then dying, along with all of his polar team, on the journey back; Douglas Mawson’s establishing a base in East Antarctica at a place he later called “The Home of the Blizzard;” and Wilhelm Filchner’s strife-ridden expedition into the Weddell Sea that laid the groundwork for what became Shackleton’s Endurance expedition three years later. Further, it also marks the mid-point of the centennial of the entire Heroic Age. Reflecting these centennials, interest in the exciting adventures of Antarctic history has never been higher, as evidenced by the number of Antarctic-related books, both popular and scholarly, that that have come out in the past several years.
The Storied Ice is a worthy addition to the best of these, a history written for the educated layperson with scholarly accuracy and documentation. But this is not “just one more” Antarctic book. The Storied Ice is unique in that it concentrates on the portion of the Antarctic regions whose history has often been overshadowed by events in the Ross Sea Region, such as “Race for the South Pole.” As such, it offers the reader not only new adventures, but also context for the known stories that greatly enriches them.
About Joan N. Boothe
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Published September 15, 2011
by Regent Press.