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Mawson: And the Ice Men of the Heroic Age: Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen

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The incredible story of Australia's most famous polar explorer and the giants from the heroic age of polar exploration Douglas Mawson, born in 1882 and knighted in 1914, was Australia's greatest Antarctic explorer. This is the incredible account of an expedition he led on December 2, 1911, from Hobart, to explore the virgin frozen coastline below, 2000 miles of which had n The incredible story of Australia's most famous polar explorer and the giants from the heroic age of polar exploration Douglas Mawson, born in 1882 and knighted in 1914, was Australia's greatest Antarctic explorer. This is the incredible account of an expedition he led on December 2, 1911, from Hobart, to explore the virgin frozen coastline below, 2000 miles of which had never felt the tread of a human foot. After setting up Main Base at Cape Denision and Western Base on Queen Mary Land, he headed east on an extraordinary sledging trek with his companions, Belgrave Ninnis and Dr Xavier Mertz. After five weeks, tragedy struck—Ninnis was swallowed whole by a snow-covered crevasse, and Mawson and Mertz realized it was too dangerous to go on. Dwindling supplies forced them to kill their dogs to feed the other dogs, at first, and then themselves. Hunger, sickness, and despair eventually got the better of Ninnis, and he succumbed to madness and then to death. Mawson found himself all alone, 160 miles from safety, with next to no food. This staggering tale of his survival, against all odds, also masterfully interweaves the stories of the other giants from the heroic age of polar exploration, to bring the jaw-dropping events of this bygone era dazzlingly back to life.


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The incredible story of Australia's most famous polar explorer and the giants from the heroic age of polar exploration Douglas Mawson, born in 1882 and knighted in 1914, was Australia's greatest Antarctic explorer. This is the incredible account of an expedition he led on December 2, 1911, from Hobart, to explore the virgin frozen coastline below, 2000 miles of which had n The incredible story of Australia's most famous polar explorer and the giants from the heroic age of polar exploration Douglas Mawson, born in 1882 and knighted in 1914, was Australia's greatest Antarctic explorer. This is the incredible account of an expedition he led on December 2, 1911, from Hobart, to explore the virgin frozen coastline below, 2000 miles of which had never felt the tread of a human foot. After setting up Main Base at Cape Denision and Western Base on Queen Mary Land, he headed east on an extraordinary sledging trek with his companions, Belgrave Ninnis and Dr Xavier Mertz. After five weeks, tragedy struck—Ninnis was swallowed whole by a snow-covered crevasse, and Mawson and Mertz realized it was too dangerous to go on. Dwindling supplies forced them to kill their dogs to feed the other dogs, at first, and then themselves. Hunger, sickness, and despair eventually got the better of Ninnis, and he succumbed to madness and then to death. Mawson found himself all alone, 160 miles from safety, with next to no food. This staggering tale of his survival, against all odds, also masterfully interweaves the stories of the other giants from the heroic age of polar exploration, to bring the jaw-dropping events of this bygone era dazzlingly back to life.

30 review for Mawson: And the Ice Men of the Heroic Age: Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen

  1. 4 out of 5

    B Schrodinger

    As the author states in the introduction, this book was planned to be a biography of Sir Douglas Mawson, the famous Australian Antarctic explorer, however he soon found that it was difficult to tell his story in isolation of the other greats like Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton. And finishing the book he is correct. I guess nothing in history happens in isolation, but since all the expeditions overlapped in timing and Mawson was part of the earlier Shackleton expedition, no event in this book was As the author states in the introduction, this book was planned to be a biography of Sir Douglas Mawson, the famous Australian Antarctic explorer, however he soon found that it was difficult to tell his story in isolation of the other greats like Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton. And finishing the book he is correct. I guess nothing in history happens in isolation, but since all the expeditions overlapped in timing and Mawson was part of the earlier Shackleton expedition, no event in this book was unconnected in some way. This book starts back in geological time and finishes at the resent, but it covers in great deal what seems to be called "The Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration". Starting from Scott's 1901-04 expedition to Mawson's 1911-14 expedition. It covers the most famous Scott vs Amunsen race to the geographic pole. Peter has a unique writing style. While his research is rigorous, there is a great emphasis on storytelling. So there are elements of embellishment to have a great narrative. Anyone who is looking for an academic and historical book will probably have eye-twitches and problems with his style. But for us mere mortals it makes for a great read. This story will engross you and transport you to the Antarctic. One large aspect that I took away from this book is that there was a fine line between bravery and stupidity, especially in an environment where on small mistake can cause multiple deaths. There is a great contrast between the Scott and Amundsen expeditions. One was efficient and relatively straightforward, the other was fraught with dangers, mistakes, stubborn personalities and failures. Guess which makes the most interesting story. So I've came away with a great respect for the continent rather than the "heroic" men. Out of all the explorers I can see why Peter chose Mawson to write a book about. While the others made heroic gestures, they also made great mistakes. Mawson only made a couple of very little mistakes and never let his ego get in the way. Mawson was by far the much greater explorer and scientist out of all the Antarctic explorers.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Angus Mcfarlane

    Some books resonate with you and grab your interest. I would not have picked up 'Mawson' myself, but after receiving it as a birthday present, I was immediately rivetted to it. The fact that no-one, neither Europeans or anyone else, knew about Antarctica until so recently created an initial intrigue. My curiousity was piqued further as I found out that I had traced some of the steps Mawson had previously taken: As a 2 year old en route from Yorkshire he was caught climbing the rigging on the shi Some books resonate with you and grab your interest. I would not have picked up 'Mawson' myself, but after receiving it as a birthday present, I was immediately rivetted to it. The fact that no-one, neither Europeans or anyone else, knew about Antarctica until so recently created an initial intrigue. My curiousity was piqued further as I found out that I had traced some of the steps Mawson had previously taken: As a 2 year old en route from Yorkshire he was caught climbing the rigging on the ship (I was also a climber, apparently); he went to Fort Street (my father's high school); studied geology at Sydney University (as i did, initially"); he then went to Adelaide where he go his doctorate - I think (its where I got mine). Unfortunately I never got to ANtarctica, but it has been a fascianation for me since a year 5 assignment - my mum even wanted to send me there when I finshed school as a gap year before starting Uni. Befiore starting the book I knew Mwason was a base in Antartica and might have guessed he was an Australian explorer there but I did not realise Mawson had been such a significant part of the great expeditions at the beginning of he 1900's. Fitzsimons has written the book such that the more famous anmes - Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen - were also part of the picture. This risked diminsihing the feats of MAwson, however, I felt it succeeded instead in placing MAwson alongside the others where he perhaps would have been were it not for the timing of WWi and his nationality. Most of the story is centred on Mawson's involvement in the first effort by Shckleton where Mawson effectively led a three man team to the South magnetic pole (first to do so) whilst Shackleton nearly got to the geographic south pole. Mawson came to the fore as a man capable of handling the conditions many were crushed by, whilst it initiated a passion to explore Antarctica further. Therefore, when SCott was preparing for his assualt on the pole, Mawson sought to join him, but only for the science, something SCott could not agree to. So, as Scott, and secretly Amndsen, began their trips to the south pole, Mawson gathered support for an Australian trip which he began the following year and lead. The stories of the various men and their parties are described in the present tense, which allows the reader (once you're used to it) to get a feel for what the characters knew and fel at the time. There is much that is inspiring, not just for those with a geological or geographical bent, whilst there is also romance (Mawsons relationship with his Fiance) and trgedy. These events caught the public imagination at the time, and I daresay still will, as there are no more frontiers of this kind left (until we begin heading to other planets in earnest). I think this book would have broad appeal, although the slightest connection with any of the stories played out will liekly be enough to capture the attention of any who read it, as it did me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Quirk

    I have a much better appreciation of the soldiers, battles and significance of the WW2 actions along the Kokoda Trail. So close to Australia at a time when many of our troops were committed to the War in Europe. Engagingly told as per the author‘s well regarded approach to writing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Becca Osborn

    Having recently finished Endurance I thought I should add in another Antarctica read. FitSimons is such a talented writer and I enjoyed the amount of detail in such a story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sam Christie

    Peter Fitzsimons has a unique writing style which really breathes life into the story of Mawson (alongside the other famous explorers of the golden age of exploration, Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen). Before reading this book, I had read books about modern-day adventures in Antarctica but thought I'd stick to a basic history of earlier explorations there. Then for Christmas I received this book and all that changed. I was about to delve into the world of grueling hardships and ardent romance exp Peter Fitzsimons has a unique writing style which really breathes life into the story of Mawson (alongside the other famous explorers of the golden age of exploration, Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen). Before reading this book, I had read books about modern-day adventures in Antarctica but thought I'd stick to a basic history of earlier explorations there. Then for Christmas I received this book and all that changed. I was about to delve into the world of grueling hardships and ardent romance experienced by those burly men of the Antarctic in the early 1900's. I was eager to attempt this book and endeavor to get a judicious understanding of these marvelous men and what it was like saying goodbye to their family and friends to venture into the painstakingly unknown seventh continent that lay at the bottom of the globe in it's vast, frigid enormity, not even knowing whether they will return. I thought it optimistic to think I could complete such a large book- over 700 pages. This book is primarily about Mawson, as the title of the book suggests, but there is also a lot to do with his adventurous colleagues in Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen. I found this a great facet of the book as it adds a whole new dimension to Mawson's story, offers a generous background of their stories and allows the reader to put a legend to the famous name of any of these figures. I found it very readable, and for a book of its size, remarkably hard to put down for the most part. It was only in the final chapter of the book that I finally got bored with it and put it down before returning sometime later to solidly wrap-up the story. The book is jam-packed with electrifying tales of adventure and also offers some of the most splendid romance reading that will captivate the hearts of any reader, for example, the beautifully-written letters between Mawson and his beloved Paquita. Fitzsimons is good at evoking readers' emotions in certain parts of the book. For example, he writes fervidly of the separate and tragic deaths of Ninnis and Mertz, alongside others who died in this age of Antarctic exploration (no more spoilers). Overall, this book is an enthralling and infatuating read that I guarantee will leave inspired and deeply moved anyone who sets about reading it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    An amazing insight into the exploration of the Antarctic by 4 great explorers, not just while they were exploring, but in how they worked to get expeditions under way. As always, these are great case studies for leadership, too. I really liked the way the book is set out chronologically. It is clear that at the same time that Mawson is fundraising for his expedition, Shackleton is assisting him, Scott is heading to the Antarctic and Amundsen is advising his crew that they are also headed to the S An amazing insight into the exploration of the Antarctic by 4 great explorers, not just while they were exploring, but in how they worked to get expeditions under way. As always, these are great case studies for leadership, too. I really liked the way the book is set out chronologically. It is clear that at the same time that Mawson is fundraising for his expedition, Shackleton is assisting him, Scott is heading to the Antarctic and Amundsen is advising his crew that they are also headed to the South Pole. The book does not romanticise the fate of the Scott expedition. Instead, it sets out the facts and allows the reader to form a view of what could have been done differently to change the outcome of that expedition. It also gives an insight into the reaction of the public at the time. I also found it interesting to read about Shackleton when he was not exploring, but engaged in entrepreneurial schemes and chasing more than one goal at a time. As an avid fan of Shackleton, it was interesting to read something that shows him other situations. Also reassuring to read of his generosity of spirit - both in throwing support behind Mawson's expedition, and in welcoming the news that it was Amundsen who reached to pole (hope that's not a spoiler!), rather than a Brit. Most of all, I felt for Amundsen, who was made out to be a villain for daring to 'race for the pole' rather than wait for Scott to have a go before starting his journey. The public reaction needs to be considered in its cultural context, which in itself is interesting, but I have to hope we would be more open minded in the 21st century! In terms of leadership, lessons included the need to plan (plan, plan and plan some more); to take the advice of experts and not be overwhelmed by what people think should be the case because it seems more fitting (e.g. Scott's view that it was more noble to man-haul a sled than to use some other form of locomotion such as ponies or dogs); the need to reassess plans when circumstances change, and also the need to stick to plans that were made for good reason when challenges arise; and the need to lead from the front.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Riley

    Peter FitzSimons has an unusual writing style: it comes across as a third person diary entry and is hard to get your head around initially. However, he covers a fascinating and awe-inspiring period of history and the many personalities and events associated with it with great detail and fluency which keeps you engaged despite the hefty weight of this tome. Individuals are profiled, trivial and significant events detailed and the huge accomplishments of Douglas Mawson - a real Australian hero - a Peter FitzSimons has an unusual writing style: it comes across as a third person diary entry and is hard to get your head around initially. However, he covers a fascinating and awe-inspiring period of history and the many personalities and events associated with it with great detail and fluency which keeps you engaged despite the hefty weight of this tome. Individuals are profiled, trivial and significant events detailed and the huge accomplishments of Douglas Mawson - a real Australian hero - and his contemporaries are woven together to make a fairly good book. I was not won over by what I saw as the author's attempts to encourage sympathy for Captain Scott and felt that the unusual writing style a help and a hindrance at different stages of the book. A more specific focus on Mawson would have been more appropriate considering the author's stated belief that Mawson is under-recognised for his contribution and his failure to fully establish how Mawson's expeditions were significant in the overall scheme of Antarctic and scientific discovery. Antarctic and exploration enthusiasts will find this a good read which passes the time without making any major revelations or presenting substantial evidence.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elderberrywine

    Extensively researched, but written with a light touch. The travails of Scott vs. Amundsen as to which would reach the South Pole first have been thoroughly documented, but still. Amundsen with his dog team vs. Scott with his ponies (because dogs weren't on, old sport - seriously, WTF?) and the motor vehicles which immediately seized and fell into the nearest crevasse. No contest. And then Mawson - an Australian explorer and scientist, who definitely had the best time of it, and at least got to t Extensively researched, but written with a light touch. The travails of Scott vs. Amundsen as to which would reach the South Pole first have been thoroughly documented, but still. Amundsen with his dog team vs. Scott with his ponies (because dogs weren't on, old sport - seriously, WTF?) and the motor vehicles which immediately seized and fell into the nearest crevasse. No contest. And then Mawson - an Australian explorer and scientist, who definitely had the best time of it, and at least got to the Southern Magnetic Pole first! Here is one of his team's first encounters with the Adele penguins. A far more benign presence are the local penguins, which are particularly attracted to the sound of the men roaring out songs and nursery rhymes. "She has rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, and she shall have music wherever she goes," the men bellow out to the besuited birds, who excitedly huddle together on the floe to hear the full gala performance. Alas, when soloist Meares, for an encore, proceeds to launch into 'God Save the King', the penguins' response is less positive. As one, the previously fascinated group waddles off and dives headlong into the water. Sigh. Everyone's a critic....

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Fitzsimons always writes a well researched, fascinating book. I just wish they were not so dull at times at the start. Regardless, the books he writes are always informative and fascinating by the time you get well into them, and as always, I enjoy them truly by the time I get to the end.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michal

    Awesome naration of the conquest (and failures) of south pole! Story of pride, nature, humble man.. It has it all..

  11. 4 out of 5

    Damienwaterford

    Loved this book. True adventure!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A fascinating biography of Douglas Mawson, who was a part of Shackleton's Nimrod expedition and later led his own Australian expedition from 1911-1914. The book also covers in some detail the expeditions of Captain Scott, Ernest Shackleton and Roald Amunsden, from start to finish, whether the expeditions ended in tragedy or success. I knew nothing about Mawson before listening to this biography and I am glad to have changed that situation. Mawson really was a remarkable man and I gained a lot of A fascinating biography of Douglas Mawson, who was a part of Shackleton's Nimrod expedition and later led his own Australian expedition from 1911-1914. The book also covers in some detail the expeditions of Captain Scott, Ernest Shackleton and Roald Amunsden, from start to finish, whether the expeditions ended in tragedy or success. I knew nothing about Mawson before listening to this biography and I am glad to have changed that situation. Mawson really was a remarkable man and I gained a lot of admiration for him in the course of this book. I also felt more empathy for Scott and his party than I previously had, due to hearing of the horrific conditions they had to endure, even if there were errors made in the planning and execution of the march to the pole. I enjoyed all aspects of the book, even tbe sections covering Scott, Shackleton and Amunsden's expeditions which I knew quite a bit about. Despite that knowledge I still learnt a great deal of new information. I listened to this via audiobook and very much enjoyed both Paul English's narration and FitzSimons' writing style, which left me gripped and immersed in the experiences of each expedition. As is to be expected with the harsh realities of arctic life, the book often describes in graphic detail, the privations, physical decline and necessary actions which might be seen as cruel or horrific to modern eyes. Some of these include the killing and butchering of dogs and ponies for meat, the soles of Mawson's feet detaching during his solo march, and the deaths of Ninnis, Mertz, Scott and his team, and some readers might find these events and descriptions upsetting, disturbing or difficult to stomach. I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in Douglas Mawson and his contemporaries in the "Heroic" Age of Polar Exploration.

  13. 5 out of 5

    A.L.

    A really excellent book, which sets the Antarctic career of Douglas Mawson alongside those of Shackleton and Scott, and, in a smaller way, Amundsen, since either they served together or, later, their most notable expeditions ran in parallel with one another. It's a very comprehensive book, bringing in the backgrounds to the expeditions, spouses, and social mores - such as the disdain in which 'colonials' were held by the British, and the sense of Amundsen not playing fair with his dash for the P A really excellent book, which sets the Antarctic career of Douglas Mawson alongside those of Shackleton and Scott, and, in a smaller way, Amundsen, since either they served together or, later, their most notable expeditions ran in parallel with one another. It's a very comprehensive book, bringing in the backgrounds to the expeditions, spouses, and social mores - such as the disdain in which 'colonials' were held by the British, and the sense of Amundsen not playing fair with his dash for the Pole. Some of the retellings, particularly of Mawson's and of Scott's most famous expeditions, are quite haunting and bluntly graphic. Thus we learn about the skin of Mawson's scrotum wearing away, the soles of his feet detaching, of cleaning up men suffering from extreme diarrhoea, and the gun shot sound of the dead Scott's arm breaking as the doctor attempted to lay him out for the last rites. Occasionally the writer's tone, using interjections which echo a perky, Bertie Wooster style early C20th of speech, gets a little tiring or seems inappropriate for the gravity of the subject. On the whole, though, this is a comprehensively researched, lovingly written exploration of those great days of Antarctic discovery and tragedy. Snippets of Mawson's loving long distance relationship with his fiancée are particularly touching. A great book to ground one in this era.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kt

    I throughly enjoyed this epic read from Peter Fitzsimmons. Just as I felt like I sailed on the Batavia, was present at the Eureka Stockade and went exploring with Burke and Wills; reading this comprehensive and throughly interesting book made me feel like I too was travelling to Antarctica with Shackleton, then Scott and finally the great man himself, Australian Douglas Mawson. Including all three explorers and the race to reach the South Pole made the book far more interesting than a book about I throughly enjoyed this epic read from Peter Fitzsimmons. Just as I felt like I sailed on the Batavia, was present at the Eureka Stockade and went exploring with Burke and Wills; reading this comprehensive and throughly interesting book made me feel like I too was travelling to Antarctica with Shackleton, then Scott and finally the great man himself, Australian Douglas Mawson. Including all three explorers and the race to reach the South Pole made the book far more interesting than a book about Mawson alone would have, given the context it added. The level of research that goes into Fitzsimons’ books is nothing short of phenomenal. It is the first hand accounts that he and his team have found that turn what could easily end up being another dry account of Australian history, into a story that is so lifelike, so interesting and so engaging that you won’t want to put it down. As someone who has always wanted to travel to Antarctica, this book was like a vicarious holiday as the writing is so descriptive that I could easily picture myself going through the trials and tribulations of one of the harshest climates on earth. A five star read, but not a short one at seven hundred and thirty seven pages; it is a must read for non-fiction, history and exploration lovers.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dona

    What an amazing book! FitzSimons has done it again and I truly enjoyed another one of his books. If I didn't know it was true I would have thought it was made up for a movie as there were times when I just couldn't put it down! I learned a lot about these heroic men and about Antarctica. Although I would love to see the beautiful colors in the ice and Mt Erebus, I would never be able to venture there. The loneliness and the danger found there would be too much for me. We often "poo-poo" people th What an amazing book! FitzSimons has done it again and I truly enjoyed another one of his books. If I didn't know it was true I would have thought it was made up for a movie as there were times when I just couldn't put it down! I learned a lot about these heroic men and about Antarctica. Although I would love to see the beautiful colors in the ice and Mt Erebus, I would never be able to venture there. The loneliness and the danger found there would be too much for me. We often "poo-poo" people that ask for money so they can send Man into space, to explore the planets, etc, but that is just what these men had to do to explore the last continent or to reach the South Pole.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    Riveting. The book has its favourite; Mawson. The man can do no wrong. Scott comes under much greater critical scrutiny (much deserved to my mind) Mawson achieved the one thing Scott failed to do by coming back alive (by the skin of his teeth) Mawson and Scott were similar in the fact their tent mates ended up dead. Amundsen is just too successful to be very interesting so only really comes into view when pointing out Scott's failings. Shackleton has plenty of page space but his great adventure is out Riveting. The book has its favourite; Mawson. The man can do no wrong. Scott comes under much greater critical scrutiny (much deserved to my mind) Mawson achieved the one thing Scott failed to do by coming back alive (by the skin of his teeth) Mawson and Scott were similar in the fact their tent mates ended up dead. Amundsen is just too successful to be very interesting so only really comes into view when pointing out Scott's failings. Shackleton has plenty of page space but his great adventure is out of this books timeline. This are really minor points and I am nitpicking. The book romps along at a "boy's own" pace and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Neil Roberts

    Really enjoy the way Peter FitzSimons brings together the triumphs and tragedies of these explorers to paint a clear picture of what was occurring (in terms of exploration) around that period, while still providing exceptional detail. I also enjoy the way the author injects his personal views on specific/key points, such as the type of equipment preferred by expedition leaders etc. His style of writing also appeals to me. A lengthy book, but for me who has always been intrigued by these types of f Really enjoy the way Peter FitzSimons brings together the triumphs and tragedies of these explorers to paint a clear picture of what was occurring (in terms of exploration) around that period, while still providing exceptional detail. I also enjoy the way the author injects his personal views on specific/key points, such as the type of equipment preferred by expedition leaders etc. His style of writing also appeals to me. A lengthy book, but for me who has always been intrigued by these types of feats, a fantastic read that I couldn’t put down.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    I enjoyed this more than I anticipated, although some parts, of necessity, tended to be heavy on the coordinates, measurements, and other details, overall it was well written and at some parts felt more like reading a novel than a biographical, non-fiction book. Mawson himself seems less well known (certainly here in the UK) than it seems like he deserves, as does Amundsen, whilst I was already much more aware of Scott, Shackleton, and of course, Captain Oates, and this book definitely helps the I enjoyed this more than I anticipated, although some parts, of necessity, tended to be heavy on the coordinates, measurements, and other details, overall it was well written and at some parts felt more like reading a novel than a biographical, non-fiction book. Mawson himself seems less well known (certainly here in the UK) than it seems like he deserves, as does Amundsen, whilst I was already much more aware of Scott, Shackleton, and of course, Captain Oates, and this book definitely helps the balance this out.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Chen

    Fantastic book. The Epilogue mentions that it involved thousands of hours of research and thousands of primary sources which were drawn upon, including letters, diaries, books and newspapers articles - and this is what helps make it a monumental book. The author also mentions his research in libraries around the world. Antarctic exploration by the British, Australians, New Zealanders and Europeans in the early 1900s is really fascinating. What they went through and human resilience is amazing.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Iñaki López Corral

    The story of the less known fourth great antarctic explorer from the heroic era of the early twentieth century polar explorers. The two expeditions in which Mawson participated, one with Shackleton and the other one on their own, are set into the context of the Amundsen-Scott's race to reach the South Pole. The story of the less known fourth great antarctic explorer from the heroic era of the early twentieth century polar explorers. The two expeditions in which Mawson participated, one with Shackleton and the other one on their own, are set into the context of the Amundsen-Scott's race to reach the South Pole.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Swarbrick

    This is not my usual genre, but was lent to me by a friend. The story of the race for the South Pole, is laid out in all its exciting and at times, tragic glory. Not for the fainthearted (and don't read while eating), it is the astonishing story of Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and Mawson and their push for the South Pole and scientific discovery. This is not my usual genre, but was lent to me by a friend. The story of the race for the South Pole, is laid out in all its exciting and at times, tragic glory. Not for the fainthearted (and don't read while eating), it is the astonishing story of Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and Mawson and their push for the South Pole and scientific discovery.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    Well enjoyed by my husband Very well narrated. My husband loves all books which are full of exploration and adventure especially by those who struggled and risked their lives to discover places never before explored so this book was right up his street. Simply excellent and highly recommended.

  23. 5 out of 5

    lanisv

    I thought, given the size of the book, that this would be a bit of a slog but I was engrossed within a few pages and could not put it down. Such a well written, interesting account of the race to make it to the South Pole and the excitement around it at the time, loved this book

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Kirkby

    I love it when history is captivating. There are parts of this that had me hanging on like an adventure novel - but it was real! Interesting characters in exceptional places with hellish circumstances.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    I quite enjoyed this - though it took me a long time to read. I didnt know much about the South Pole explorations and loved learning more!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    I was captivated by the telling of the independent, competing, contemporaneous expeditions, day by day. Gripping suspense, well researched and written.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Sommerville

    Probably 4.5 stars. Listened to as audiobook. Really fascinating recount of the exploration of Antarctica and the struggles of those involved.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Helen O'Shaughnessy

    Following Scott, Amundsen and Mawson in Antarctica (and some Shackleton too). Fascinating! Tragic! Engaging and beautifully crafted as usual.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kieran

    By the 10th time you read "They were low on food, frostbite on their nose and cheeks, it was tough going etc." you may begin to wonder whether you have lost control of your life. By the 10th time you read "They were low on food, frostbite on their nose and cheeks, it was tough going etc." you may begin to wonder whether you have lost control of your life.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Doc Livo

    Inspiring story. Should be taught in school

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