25 Books to Read Before You Die
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | August 18, 2014

Ian Leslie: IMG Empathic Curiosity



Today, we wonder anxiously if digital media is changing our brains. But if there's any time in history when our mental operations changed... Continue »
  1. $18.89 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$34.95
New Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
3 Burnside Travel Writing- Antarctica General
7 Local Warehouse Arctic and Antarctic- General
25 Remote Warehouse Arctic and Antarctic- General

Antarctica: A Biography

by

Antarctica: A Biography Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Since the first sailing ships spied the Antarctic coastline in 1820, the frozen continent has captured the world's imagination. David Day's brilliant biography of Antarctica describes in fascinating detail every aspect of this vast land's history--two centuries of exploration, scientific investigation, and contentious geopolitics.

Drawing from archives from around the world, Day provides a sweeping, large-scale history of Antarctica. Focusing on the dynamic personalities drawn to this unconquered land, the book offers an engaging collective biography of explorers and scientists battling the elements in the most hostile place on earth. We see intrepid sea captains picking their way past icebergs and pushing to the edge of the shifting pack ice, sanguinary sealers and whalers drawn south to exploit "the Penguin El Dorado," famed nineteenth-century explorers like Scott and Amundson in their highly publicized race to the South Pole, and aviators like Clarence Ellsworth and Richard Byrd, flying over great stretches of undiscovered land. Yet Antarctica is also the story of nations seeking to incorporate the Antarctic into their national narratives and to claim its frozen wastes as their own. As Day shows, in a place as remote as Antarctica, claiming land was not just about seeing a place for the first time, or raising a flag over it; it was about mapping and naming and, more generally, knowing its geographic and natural features. And ultimately, after a little-known decision by FDR to colonize Antarctica, claiming territory meant establishing full-time bases on the White Continent.

The end of the Second World War would see one last scramble for polar territory, but the onset of the International Geophysical Year in 1957 would launch a cooperative effort to establish scientific bases across the continent. And with the Antarctic Treaty, science was in the ascendant, and cooperation rather than competition was the new watchword on the ice. Tracing history from the first sighting of land up to the present day, Antarctica is a fascinating exploration of this deeply alluring land and man's struggle to claim it.

Review:

"This sweeping but uninvolving history of Antarctic exploration revolves around the question of who owns a continent that no one really wants. Historian Day (Claiming a Continent) traces two centuries of expeditions that struggled to unravel the mystery of Antarctica (is that unapproachable line on the horizon a coast, a group of ice-bergs, a fog-bank, an island, or a continent?). Entwined in the explorers' epic befuddlement are perennial efforts by rival nations to claim sovereignty over the elusive terrain by means of competitive mapping and landmark naming and stately possession rituals — flag dropping, fusillade firing, cairn building, plaque inscribing, and proclamation reading — performed for audiences of bemused penguins. There are moments of high drama in the saga, from Scott's and Shackleton's doomed journeys to the pole to Robert Byrd's heroic overflights, but mainly it is a picaresque — and a sometimes tedious one — of semihapless voyages and treks and semiserious diplomatic wranglings. Day provides frustratingly little scientific information about the unique polar environment, but in the background he shows us a swelling fleet of seal hunters, whaling vessels, and factory ships as they slaughter the region's abundant marine wildlife to the verge of extinction. More than the farcical human empire building he foregrounds, that gripping natural history provides the book's drama. 35 b&w photos. Agent: Andrew Lownie, the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency Ltd. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

David Day has been a research fellow at Clare College in Cambridge and a Visiting Professor at University College Dublin, the University of Aberdeen, and the Center for Pacific and American Studies at the University of Tokyo. He is currently a research associate at La Trobe University in Melbourne. He is the author of many books, including Conquest: How Societies Overwhelm Others and the award-winning Claiming a Continent: A History of Australia.

Table of Contents

Preface

Chapter 1 1770s

Chapter 2 1780-1820

Chapter 3 1821-1838

Chapter 4 1839-1843

Chapter 5 1843-1895

Chapter 6 1895-1906

Chapter 7 1907-1912

Chapter 8 1912-1918

Chapter 9 1919-1926

Chapter 10 1926-1928

Chapter 11 1929-1930

Chapter 12 1931-1933

Chapter 13 1934-1936

Chapter 14 1937-1938

Chapter 15 1939-1941

Chapter 16 1941-1945

Chapter 17 1945-1947

Chapter 18 1948-1951

Chapter 19 1952-1956

Chapter 20 1957-1960

Chapter 21 1961-2012

Epilogue

Endnotes

Select Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780199861453
Author:
Day, David
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Subject:
Polar Regions
Subject:
History - World
Subject:
Arctic and Antarctic-General
Publication Date:
20130631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
20 b/w
Pages:
624
Dimensions:
6.6 x 9.4 x 1.9 in 2.15 lb

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » History and Social Science
History and Social Science » Arctic and Antarctic » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Travel » Travel Writing » Antarctica General

Antarctica: A Biography New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$34.95 In Stock
Product details 624 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199861453 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This sweeping but uninvolving history of Antarctic exploration revolves around the question of who owns a continent that no one really wants. Historian Day (Claiming a Continent) traces two centuries of expeditions that struggled to unravel the mystery of Antarctica (is that unapproachable line on the horizon a coast, a group of ice-bergs, a fog-bank, an island, or a continent?). Entwined in the explorers' epic befuddlement are perennial efforts by rival nations to claim sovereignty over the elusive terrain by means of competitive mapping and landmark naming and stately possession rituals — flag dropping, fusillade firing, cairn building, plaque inscribing, and proclamation reading — performed for audiences of bemused penguins. There are moments of high drama in the saga, from Scott's and Shackleton's doomed journeys to the pole to Robert Byrd's heroic overflights, but mainly it is a picaresque — and a sometimes tedious one — of semihapless voyages and treks and semiserious diplomatic wranglings. Day provides frustratingly little scientific information about the unique polar environment, but in the background he shows us a swelling fleet of seal hunters, whaling vessels, and factory ships as they slaughter the region's abundant marine wildlife to the verge of extinction. More than the farcical human empire building he foregrounds, that gripping natural history provides the book's drama. 35 b&w photos. Agent: Andrew Lownie, the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency Ltd. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.