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Antarctica: An Encyclopedia, 2d ed. by John…

Antarctica: An Encyclopedia, 2d ed.

by John Stewart

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I won't pretend to have read this entire two-volume set--that, as we all know, would be patently absurd. I did however spend a couple of hours looking up the entries of things I already knew something about, which taught me a great deal more about them, and following the cross-references therein to other entries that contained a great deal of information that I didn't already know. Did I always find what I was looking for? That, and so much more. Is anything missing? I have no idea--but I trust Stewart and the rest of the editors to have kept the omissions to the smallest humanly possible minimum.

What I can say is this: this encyclopedia is a phenomenal achievement and one that points up the best aspects of old-fashioned, knowledge-driven scholarship. If you have any reason at all to be interested in the Antarctic and the world's interaction with it, you'll find this encyclopedia indispensable. I think. ( )
  cornerhouse | Feb 14, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This 2-volume, 1700+ page work is a comprehensive gazetteer of the world's southernmost continent. With thousands of articles on geographic landmarks, historic expeditions, and polar wildlife, Antarctica had entries on (almost) every topic I cared to look up -- from leopard seals and penguins to Amundsen and Shackleton to McMurdo Sound and Mount Vinson and meteorites. Most articles are brief but thorough. Location entries include latitude and longitude. Articles about ships, stations, and people give history, dates, and significance. The most comprehensive stories tend to be reserved for the expeditions. The British Imperial Transarctic Expedition entry, for instance, gives an almost day by day shorthand account of the most amazing survival story in the annals of exploration. I've read much about the South Pole and environs and this is truly a worthy reference.

(Post-script: I searched for and read at least 100 articles in the encyclopedia. The only entry I looked for but didn't find therein was for Lynne Cox, an American cold water swimmer who defied all odds to swim a mile in Antarctica's freezing ocean water. The event was the climax of a remarkable book in itself Swimming to Antarctica. Her story might be trivial with regards to the continent, but wish it was included in this comprehensive work.)

Find more of my reviews at Mostly NF.
  benjfrank | Feb 7, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Extremely comprehensive work covering an incredible variety of topics. Not a great cover to cover read but an excellent reference work. ( )
  RhodestoRome | Jan 31, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Antarctica is an impressive work, building on the 1990 edition with another four and a half years’ study of national gazetteers that brings the number of entries to over 30,000—covering every person, geographic feature, voyage, animal, and idea south of sixty degrees South.

The books are solid, of a good, readable off-white paper and seem well bound. They stay open to a page without difficulty and use suitably-sized, clean type and good white space for easy reading, and the entries can be both excruciatingly- thorough and surprisingly engaging. The story told by a whaling ship’s seasonal catches, or behind a place name, makes it easy to keep reading after checking an entry, and opening to any page will provide some pleasing tidbit.

Antarctica is, nonetheless, a very specific, and expensive, reference work which will be welcome in large research collections and out of scope for most others.
1 vote EverettWiggins | Jan 30, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As a homeschooling mom who is currently studying Antarctica right along with her children, I love this 2-volume set of encyclopedias!

First, these hard-cover books are huge - over 1750 pages together!

There are no pictures or maps, unfortunately, but the books are chock-full of information on Antarctica. Who knew there was so much to know?? There are so many places on this continent to learn about and so many people who have traveled to and explored Antarctica, risking or losing their lives in the process.

We recently studied Ernest Shackleton, Roald Amundsen, and Robert Scott and these books came in very handy while learning about them. For instance, we did not know that Shackleton was never called "Ernie" but rather "Shackles" and that Amundsen's full name was Roald Engebreth Gravning Amundsen (other books we read failed to mention this which seems unfortunate to me as I love to learn about people's names).

All entries in the books are in alphabetical order (like most encyclopedias) which makes it quick and easy to find what you are looking for and some of the entries are written in such a witty way that adds just a fun spark to learning about some of the explorers. These are books that can be casually read in a spare moment to learn a few more facts about Antarctica - these books are best left on a table near a comfy couch so one can just pick one up and begin perusing!

I am glad to have these books in my collection and I can see my children (and myself!) using them over and over throughout the years! ( )
1 vote seventhheaven | Jan 27, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786435909, Hardcover)

This second edition of the 1990 Library Journal "Best Reference" book, four years in the compiling and writing, is an exhaustive A-Z direct-entry encyclopedia of Antarctica. It doubles the first edition's entries to 30,000, covering geographical features, historical events, explorers, expeditions, airplanes, ships, scientists, scientific stations, tour operators, scientific terms, birds, animals, insects, flora, items of general interest and much more. "Antarctica" is defined as all land and water south of 60°S. Information for geographical features is drawn primarily from national gazetteers, both current and old, and is not limited to ­English-­language sources. Extensive cross-referencing simplifies the continent's often bewildering nomenclature--geographical features' names, for example, may vary widely from one national gazetteer to the next, and are further complicated by having been named and renamed multiple times, and in many languages, through the years. All linguistic variations of placenames are included and cross-referenced.

First Edition Award: A Library Journal Best Reference

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:35 -0400)

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An edition of this book was published by McFarland.

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