Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration

Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration

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by David Roberts

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His two companions dead, food and supplies vanished in a crevasse, Douglas Mawson was still one hundred miles from camp.See more details below


His two companions dead, food and supplies vanished in a crevasse, Douglas Mawson was still one hundred miles from camp.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Dennis Drabelle
In Alone on the Ice, Roberts, a veteran mountain climber and chronicler of adventures, admirably succeeds in restoring the luster that the [Australian Antarctic Expedition] and its leader deserve.
Laurence Gonzales
“An important missing story from the heroic age of Antarctic exploration, this book will steal the night from you. Gripping and superb.”
Publishers Weekly
Painting a realistic portrait of Aussie explorer Douglas Mawson and his arduous trek through some of the most treacherous icy Antarctic terrain, Roberts (The Mountain of Fear) gives the reader a very close look at the huge risks and preparations of the nearly impossible feat. The author fleshes out Mawson, the 30-year-old lecturer in mineralogy and petrology at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, earning his stripes during a hazardous 1907–1909 Shackleton expedition to the frigid continent. With a superb collection of Frank Hurley’s celebrated Antarctic photographs, Roberts parallels the courageous achievements of Mawson’s team on the 1911–1913 journey along the previously uncharted regions of the landscape with those of his acclaimed peers, Scott, Shackleton, and Amundsen, battling the bitter cold, starvation, and peril to the limits of human endurance. Roberts sums up the dangers Mawson and his crew were up against: “No region on earth possesses deeper or more treacherous crevasses than Antarctica.” And what wreaks havoc with every team of explorers that tries to traverse its unforgiving wastes is the fact that crevasses there are not confined to the glaciers. Harrowing, exciting and brutally real, Roberts provides a chilling backstory to polar explorer Mawson’s bold solitary survival tale. (Jan.)
Ed Viesturs
“A fresh and thoroughly researched account of Doulas Mawson's epic journey of self-rescue across one of the most inhospitable regions known to man. Roberts takes the reader alongside the men of the 1912 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, and the desperation of Mawson’s sledge journey can be well imagined step by frigid step.”
Gordon Wiltsie
“Others have written the loose outlines of Douglas Mawson’s astonishing survival against the worst conditions that Antarctica can deliver—a lesser-known but equally compelling epic as that of Ernest Shackleton—but Roberts’s telling trumps them all.”
Greg Child
“This is Roberts at his best, telling a little-known tale of adventure, tragedy, and endurance. Mawson may be the most famous Australian explorer, and Alone on the Ice is an admirable introduction of him to American readers.”
Conrad Anker
“An accurate and enthralling account of the greatest storyofpolar exploration and survival. Roberts takes the reader back to a time of hardship, collective friendship, and a level of determination unknown in todays culture. This bookwill make youcherish every meal and the joys of a warm bed.”
Chuck Leddy - Minneapolis Star Tribune
“If you like frostbite-inducing weather and death-defying adventure stories, then award-winning author David Roberts gives you what you want: a wonderfully told, impressively researched tale of brave explorers confronting Antarctic blizzards, a deadly landscape pockmarked with deep crevasses and intrepid men trying to come back alive.”
Christina Thompson - Boston Globe
“Impressively seamless and straightforward. A tale of action . . . strongly founded on the words of the expeditionary members themselves.”
Paul Harris - Guardian
“Mawson, the unsung hero of Antarctica, gets his due at last.”
Dennis Drabelle - Washington Post
“Admirably succeeds in restoring the luster that the [expedition] and its leader deserve.”
Kirkus Reviews
Mountaineer and prolific author Roberts (Finding Everett Ruess: The Life and Unsolved Disappearance of a Legendary Wilderness Explorer, 2011, etc.) returns with a vivid history of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson (1882–1958) and his 1912 exploration of Antarctica. The author covers the entirety of the expedition, skillfully blending his research of Mawson and his life with details from firsthand diaries and records of the crew. "A scientist in his very bones," Mawson kept meticulous records of the expedition, despite the trip's hardships. While the entire voyage is engaging, the most engrossing part of the tale begins about halfway through the book when Mawson and two colleagues, Belgrave Ninnis and Xavier Mertz, set out from their base camp to a point 300 miles southeast. Without warning, Ninnis and a half dozen of the team's best dogs plunged to their deaths through a crevasse, taking Ninnis' sledge and its food rations down as well. With only a week's food (and no food for the remaining dogs), the surviving men stretched their rations by eating any sled dogs too weak to continue to pull the sled. That decision may have led to the painful demise of Mertz, as he may have poisoned himself with an overdose of vitamin A from eating the dogs' livers. His human and canine companions dead, the starving Mawson trekked another 100 miles back to his base camp. When he finally returned to camp, the first man to reach Mawson "beheld the ravaged countenance of the man limping down the slope above him, [and] Mawson knew exactly what [he] was thinking: Which one are you?" Roberts creates a full portrait of Mawson and does justice to what famed mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary would later call "[t]he greatest survival story in the history of exploration."

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Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

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