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An Empire of Ice

Scott, Shackleton and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science

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Description

Published to coincide with the centenary of the first expeditions to reach the South Pole, An Empire of Ice presents a fascinating new take on Antarctic exploration. Retold with added information, it's the first book to place the famed voyages of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, his British rivals Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton, and others in a larger scientific, social, and geopolitical context.

Efficient, well prepared, and focused solely on the goal of getting to his destination and back, Amundsen has earned his place in history as the first to reach the South Pole. Scott, meanwhile, has been reduced in the public mind to a dashing incompetent who stands for little more than relentless perseverance in the face of inevitable defeat. An Empire of Ice offers a new perspective on the Antarctic expeditions of the early twentieth century by looking at the British efforts for what they actually were: massive scientific enterprises in which reaching the South Pole was but a spectacular sideshow. By focusing on the larger purpose, Edward Larson deepens our appreciation of the explorers' achievements, shares little-known stories, and shows what the Heroic Age of Antarctic discovery was really about.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 14, 2013 – While the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration lasted from 1897-1922, Pulitzer-winner Larson (A Magnificent Catastrophe) focuses on the British Antarctic expeditions prior to World War I in his study of the era and its accomplishments. British explorers Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton take center stage, joined by Norwegian Roald Amundsen, as Larson examines the numerous attempts to reach the South Pole, including Scott’s tragic last journey and Amundsen’s victory. Transcending those tales, he analyzes how these missions furthered science, dividing his narrative into various disciplines: from oceanography to geology, biology to magnetism, we see how these missions were as much about "how science gave meaning to adventure" as they were a "dash to the South Pole." While Scott’s last expedition "came to stand for little more than relentless perseverance in the face of inevitable defeat," Larson skillfully details how these missions expanded knowledge of Antarctica across an array of fields, and how Scott sacrificed everything to bring home a few more specimens. The result is an insightful, accessible, enlightening account of an age when exploration "reflected the values of the Edwardian age: fitness and science mattered." b&w photos.
An Empire of Ice
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: May 31, 2011
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Seller: Yale University Press
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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