A not nearly complete list of Antarctic books
Read all of these and you'll have barely skimmed the surface. Don't worry, we're not there yet either. To see a complete list of the main polargeeks' books, click here.
Alone, by Admiral Richard E. Byrd, © 1938.
Byrd spent an Antarctic winter alone in an underground hut, and nearly died of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. It can get a little scientific at times, but is well worth it. Relatively easy to find.
The Antarctic Challenged, by Admiral Lord Mountevans, © 1955.
Known as Lt. 'Teddy' Evans on the Terra Nova expedition, Mountevans puts together an excellent Antarctic history primer, including inside information on Scott's expedition and a glowing report on Amundsen. Also includes contemporary account of "Operation High Jump" before it was even complete. Difficult to find.
Antarctica, published by Lonely Planet, © 1996.
Just in case you get the bug to go. Readily available.
Antarctica, an encyclopedia, by John Stewart.
One of two "gotta haves" for any Polargeek/Webmaster. Difficult to find.
Antarctic Miscellany, S.A. Spence.
The other must-have, it's a wealth of information for the Heroic age collector. We're told that a collector can refer to the entries by number, but we have yet to use "The Spence" in a sentence. Bad polargeeks! Difficult to find.
Antarctic Odyssey, by Graham Collier & Patricia Graham Collier, © 1999.
Got two of these for Christmas, so we shared the wealth. It's a return to the historic sites of the Heroic age in the South. Relatively easy to find.
The Birthday Boys, by Beryl Bainbridge, © 1995.
We've read this, we just can't remember what we thought about it. Will read again once we can locate where we put it.
Before the Heroes Came: Antarctica in the 1890's, by T.H. Bauman, © 1999.
Because we realise there is more to Antarctica than just the heroes.
Below the Convergence: Voyages toward Antarctica 1699-1839, by Alan Gurney, © 1997.
The great thing about history is there is usually more of it.
Endurance, by Alfred Lansing, © 1959.
A straightforward account of Shackleton's Endurance expedition. Relatively easy to find.
Greetings from Antarctica, by Sara Wheeler.
An excellent book to get the young ones in your family interested in the Southern Continent. Our nephew now knows enough to correct his kindergarten teacher when she says the penguins live in the arctic (!!!!). Relatively easy to find.
Heart of the Antarctic, by Ernest Shackleton.
Shackleton's account of his furthest South of 1909, where he turned back from the Pole with just 97 miles to go because he knew otherwise he and his men would be dead. Relatively easy to find.
In the Antarctic; Stories of Scott's Last Expedition, by Frank Debenham
A different side to those on that expedition. These stories are very personal, and usually fairly funny. It gives you a better picture of a lot of the men usually forgotten in Scott's tragic shadow. Difficult to find.
Inexpressible Island, a play, by David Young.
Another recommendation from a FOF. According to him "it is based on the experiences of Scott's northern party under command of Lt. Campbell. Not much has been written about this true epic of the ice -- most of the authors who write about Scott barely mention this story. A pity." We can't wait to read it.
Judgment over the Dead , by Trevor Griffiths
This is the screenplay of The Last Place on Earth, and it's fabulous. It has an interview with Griffiths, wherein all sorts of interesting tidbits about the production are discussed, and many, many cut scenes. Equally fascinating is the number of scenes in the show that are not in the screenplay. Difficult to find.
The Last Place on Earth, by Roland Huntford, © 1985. First published as Scott and Amundsen © 1979.
Perhaps the premiere book on the race to the pole. It was this book that started the Polargeeks up the ice falls of polar exploration, as it were. We at Framheim recommend all of Huntford's books. Relatively easy to find.
Leading at the Edge; Leadership lessons from the Extraodinary saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition, by Dennis N.T. Perkins, © 2000.
We don't normally read business books, but this one looks like we could read it at work and get away with it.
Let Heroes Speak; Antarctic Explorers, 1772 - 1922, by Michael Rosove, © 2000.
The story of all of them, expedition by expedition. Should be a great help in the history section, if we ever get to writing it.
Mawson's Will, by Leornard Bickel.
Some people may bristle at Bickel's writing style, but he tells a good story of Mawson's survival, having lost both companions and most of his food and transport. Relatively easy to find.
No Surrender!, by Harold Avery.
One would think that this would have ended up in our Not Recommended room, given its unabashedly revisionist slant. However, we found the things the author chose to gloss over, re-interpret or just plain lie about intriguing. Standing alone, it is an unacceptible piece of propaganda. In context, it's pretty damn fascinating. Also, it's a "boy's life" kind of book, and therefore a very quick read. Relatively difficult to find.
The Norwegian with Scott, by Tryggve Gran.
The journals of the Norwegian Ski champion on the Terra Nova. It is fascinating to read different accounts of the same trip in different member's journals. What is especially interesting is his views of Scott and Amundsen. Difficult to find.
On Antarctica, by Len Airey, © 2001.
A contemporary account of life at the British Antarctic Survey. Click here for an in-depth review. Order here!
The Race, by Kåre Holt, © 1974. Published in Norwegian under the name Kappløppet
A 'documentary novel' about Scott's and Amundsen's expeditions to the South Pole. Written in Norwegian, this was the first book to try to de-mythologize Amundsen, much in the same way Huntford did for Scott 5 years later. The difference, though, is the research. Huntford cites his sources and quotes from journals. Holt gets some pretty basic facts wrong, and fabricates imagined meetings between the two leaders. I don't think he was trying to pass this off as non-fiction, though. This is very close to going into the Not Recommended room. We haven't decided yet. Difficult to find (in English, anyway).
Scott's Last Expedition, by Robert Falcon Scott, foreword by Beryl Bainbridge © 1996.
The journals of Scott on his final expedition. What we find most interesting is the clarity and presence of the final entries, written by a dying man in extreme cold and pain Relatively easy to find.
Shackleton, by Roland Huntford, © 1985.
Shackleton got a lot of time in The Last Place on Earth, so it's only fitting that Huntford write a biography of him. Very insightful. Relatively easy to find.
Shackleton's Forgotten Men, by Leonard Bickel, © 1998.
While the writing style might irritate some, the story of the men on Shackleton's other half of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition is still incredible, a much more sad. We are surprised the Aurora doesn't get as much press, as the heroism of those on board is worthy of note. Readily available.
Silas; The Antarctic Diaries and Memoirs of Charles S. Wright, edited by Colin Bull and Pat F. Wright, © 1993.
Silas Wright was a Canadian on Scott's last expedition. Having read the expurgated Scott and Wilson diaries, it will be refreshing to read some journals that do not suffer from the RGS red pencil.
South, by Sir Ernest Shackleton, reprint © 1998.
Shackleton's own account of the Endurance voyage. An engaging writer. Readily available.
The South Pole, by Roald Amundsen, © 1913.
Sydpolen in Norwegian (we just learned that in class), what we have found most interesting (so far) about this book is that it was written without knowing what happened to Scott. This was just reprinted, so it's Readily available.
South with Scott, by Admiral Lord Mountevans.
Haven't actually read this one yet, but am eagerly looking forward to it. Mountevans is an excellent writer. Difficult to find.
South Pole Odyssey: The Antarctic Writings of Edward Wilson
Have only skimmed this one, but again very interesting to see different sides of the same story. Difficult to find.
Terra Incognita, by Sarah Wheeler, © 1996.
A memoir of her trip to Antarctica, infused with a healthy amount of history and humor. A good book for those interested in history, travel or both. Readily available.
Terra Nova, a play, by Ted Tally.
This was recommended by an FOF (Friend of Framheim). A play focussing on Scott's final party, exploring Scott's reaction to his weaknesses and his surroundings. Part allegory, part history, it's not too bad. Would like to see it performed.
Trial by Ice; a photobiography of Shackleton, by K.M. Kostyal
Another Christmas addition. We got it for the pictures, which do not disappoint. Relatively easy to find.
Tom Crean, An Unsung Hero, by Michael Smith, © 2000
This not only has a lot of information about Tom Crean's unbelievable life, but lots of tasty tidbits about the Scott and Shackleton expeditions. Available only in Europe. Check out Framheim's exclusive excerpt from the author.
The Worst Journey in the World, by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, © 1922.
Commonly regarded as the best book about Antarctica available. Cherry-Garrard, editor of the South Polar Times on Scott's last expedition, writes incredibly well about all aspects of the expedition. The foremost account of "The Southern Journey," which took Cherry-Garrard, Birdie Bowers, and "Uncle Bill" Wilson to Cape Crozier to gather Emperor Penguin Eggs for scientific research. Readily available.
The Voyage of the Discovery, by Robert Falcon Scott.
Scott's journals from his Discovery expedition. Interesting to note already the friction between him and Shackleton. Relatively easy to find.