Simon Cleveland | 2/18/2014
" Once in a while a person accidentally stumbles on an especially annoying book. One written particularly because a desperate publisher made a phone call, or mailed a letter with a check to an author with the words: "It's time to write another one, Shirley..." and the author hurled herself to write, without a plan, without ideas and the only thing that came out was a dull diary filled with self pity, anti-Americanism, sexism and generally criticism... Well, this is one of those books and I truly feel sorry for the trees that have to die annually to satisfy the erroneous marketing projections of underpaid book editors in the current cost-cutting environment (especially after the advent of Print-on-Demand) in order to deliver such hideous and mind numbing gems. Yet I am also grateful. I'm grateful for these sacrifices because they serve to carry a message to the reader, which he or she can carry to you the broader audience. That message is - DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THIS BOOK AND THIS AUTHOR.
In terms of content - well, there is no story here. This is simply a tedious account of a lonely woman who spent someone else's money to visit Antarctica and record her daily experiences. What kind of experiences, you wonder?
The kind that go like this"
"...we took off over the frozen sound toward the Transantarctics..."
"...we could see individual birds waddling about with stones in their beaks..."
"...Later that day we landed at the snout of the Mawson Glacier for a picnic..."
"...so we all had our own few feet of privacy. It was hot and dark inside..."
"...and later we saw all their small yellow tents pitched in the distance..."
and go on and on and on...
Occasionally the author makes references to Scott's, Shackleton's and other expeditions, but in no way enough to stir imagination or interest. I doubt you'd learn anything new from this book.
If you are truly interested about Antarctica, the history behind the conquests and a first person account of the harshness of the pole and its frozen lands, check out "Race to the Pole: Tragedy, Heroism, and Scott's Antarctic Quest" by Ranulph Fiennes.
Yield to reason - ignore this one. "
Joyce | 2/13/2014
" Excellent reading before a trip to Antarctica. Nice blend of history and contemporary. "
Wendy | 2/11/2014
" Loved it! The excellent descriptions in this travelogue made me feel like I actually was there. Now I don't have to go to Antarctica! "
Ty | 2/5/2014
" Very good tour of Antarctica and its history through the eyes of a visitor drawn there by its mysterious forces. "
Kara | 2/3/2014
" the last third of the book is definately the best, and worth it to read the first 2 thirds to get to it "
K M | 1/27/2014
" What an entertaining and informative book. I had no idea how woefully ignorant I was/am about Antarctica and its history. I did find myself wishing for photos, though "
Leslie | 1/26/2014
" One of my favorite books of all time! A great personal travel memoir. "
Carolyn | 1/17/2014
" I learned that the Americans at McMurdo Base in Antarctica are much more fun than the Brits at Rothera research station. The Italians have a pretty good time there too, and they know how to eat especially well there. A great book to read about what is going on at the research bases, and inforamtion about some of the early discoveries. Even though its been over ten years, I think it probably gives an accurate picture. Opened my eyes to the wonderment of Antactica, made me crazy for penguins all winter, and kept me in the snow mood. "
Lance | 1/12/2014
" I wish I could go to Antarctica and walk around the South Pole. "
Gwen | 12/13/2013
" Humorous descriptions of interactions with Americans; could have used a better editor. "
Lynne | 12/4/2013
" This book is an odd mix of a description of everyday life on the Antarctic stations and a disjointed history of polar exploration. There are interesting parts, but I think that there are better books that cover the same subjects separately. "
Megan | 12/2/2013
" Of modern Antarctic travelogues, this is probably my favourite and the one I would most recommend. Yet, the author appears to be searching for something and there is no satisfying resolution really in place. "
Dan | 11/13/2013
" A British writer traipses Antarctica, but it's really her inner journey that counts (!). A little shallow, since she is mostly writing about fairly short encounters with others. I liked best where she gets her own hut on the ice with a painter, and does a bit on her own. "
Lee | 1/20/2013
" This book made me want to find a way to get a "summer" job (or research grant, as Wheeler did) on The Ice. "
Sarah | 10/1/2012
" Fantastic. Makes me want to visit so much, I actually looked into the grant program that sent her there. Sadly, the program's been archived. Time to save up for a trip myself. "
Stuart | 7/30/2012
" Interesting in parts, but unfortunately reflects the tedium and ordinariness of base work in the Antarctic in the writing. In the end I couldn't see any point for the book or indeed the author's funded trip there... "
Linda | 7/22/2012
" Sara Wheeler's best work. A well-written, soul-stirring book that stays with you long after you read it. "
Pam | 7/15/2012
" Prior to reading this book, my image of Antarctica was based largely on what I saw in the film March of the Penguins. Sara Wheeler describes some of the various settlements she visits, as well as the history of the many explorers who came to the continent. "
Lou | 6/24/2012
" Good, but a bit disjointed. "
Simon | 3/27/2012
" Amazing read. Funny, intelligent and enlightening. A trip to Antarctica is in order, I feel. You sometimes need a dictionary for some of the obtuse words she uses. "
Stephanie | 2/9/2012
" Very interesting but it would have benefited from a few more maps and reproductions of the photos that are mentioned. "
Daniel Kipp | 1/20/2012
" Well written recounting of the author's travel to Antarctica, her visits with a variety of researchers, and others drawn to the edge of things. Very good, but a bit rambling; and perhaps we learn more about her and her inner psyche than we might like. "