Throughout history, Antarctica has captivated and overwhelmed with its stunning landscapes and wildlife, and extremes of climate and isolation.
The massive seventh continent has witnessed feats of human endurance in the face of unimaginable hardship and, in an era of global warming, has become a symbol of our planet's fragility.
In this wide-ranging collection, Alasdair McGregor draws on the best factual and fictional accounts of human activity on the ice to paint a vivid picture of a 'land of unsurpassed desolation'.
Gathered here are first-hand accounts by Sir Ernest Shackleton and Roald Amundsen of their quest for the South Pole, that 'beacon of ultimate ambition'. There is the 19th-century story of the first winter spent on the ice, and an essay by the incomparable Helen Garner, who joins a ship of tourists almost 100 years later. Read Douglas Mawson's dreamlike contribution to Aurora Australis, the first book wholly produced in Antarctica, and Meredith Hooper's sobering account of the 'sound of extinction' of the Adélie penguins, which she describes as the 'bellwether of climate change'.
Just as no visitor returns from Antarctica unchanged, no reader of this book will remain unmoved by the courage and passion of those who have explored, described and sought to protect this challenging, awe-inspiring and spectacularly beautiful environment.