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Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica (original 1996; edition 1999)
by Sara Wheeler
Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica by Sara Wheeler (1996)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375753389, Paperback)When explorers such as Ernest Shackleton, Roald Amundsen, and Robert Falcon Scott all set off to Antarctica in the early years of the 20th century, the polar regions were among the last truly unexplored areas of the world--and arguably the least hospitable. Scott lost his life, pinned down in a howling blizzard only 11 miles from his supply depot; Shackleton lost his ship, crushed in the ice. Even those who survived the icy wastes did so only with enormous effort. And yet, there is something about Antarctica that beckons people; eighty years after Shackleton's voyage, Sara Wheeler answered the call, leaving her comfortable home for "the Great White." Terra Incognita is the result of her sojourn in that legendary land.
In addition to chronicling her own encounters with the people and the place, Wheeler brings the past alive as well, through vivid stories about the heroes of polar exploration: Shackleton, Scott, Amundsen, and others who practically become secondary characters in Wheeler's account. But it is her interactions with the living people who make up the community--scientists, drifters, and dreamers who have settled this forbidding landscape--that make Terra Incognita a rare and worthy book.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:28 -0400)
Ever since the time of Captain Cook, Antarctica has captured the imagination of countless explorers who set off against great odds in search of riches and honor, for science or a better world. Sara Wheeler weaves together her own experiences on the ice with the grueling adventures of Antarctica's most mythic figures - the Norwegian Roald Amundsen, who beat his rival to the Pole by twenty-nine days; Ernest Shackleton, whose men lived on seal and penguin blubber for three months when their ship was pierced by an iceberg; Apsley Cherry-Garrard, who famously braved the polar winter to hunt down rare penguin eggs that were ignored and eventually lost back home; Robert Falcon Scott, whose heroic example inspired countless young men to sacrifice themselves in the First World War.Accounts of these epic expeditions alternate with Sara Wheeler's own adventures in Antarctica, where a motley crew of scientists, drifters and dreamers search for bacterial traces that might hold the key to life on Mars, harass penguins and seek to measure this still largely impenetrable land.
(summary from another edition)
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