An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton, and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science [NOOK Book]

Overview

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
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An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton, and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science

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Overview

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
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Editorial Reviews

Jennifer A. Kingson
[Larson]…is a brilliant researcher. An Empire of Ice reflects exhaustive digging and reaches well beyond the standard source materials. Although many of the best-known stories of Antarctic exploration are retold here…Larson provides enough fresh perspective that even devotees of polar literature will learn things.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
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. Agent: B.G. Dilworth, B.G. Dilworth Agency.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Travel Book Seller
"Empire of Ice is a new take on polar exploration of the early 20th century.  It puts expeditions by Amundsen, Scott, Shackleton et al. into a wider scientific, social and geopolitical context."—Travel Book Seller
Booklist
“Larson succeeds in this approach to the popular subject of polar exploration by wrapping the science in plenty of dangerous drama to keep readers engaged."—Booklist
NYTBR

Larson “is a brilliant researcher.  An Empire of Ice reflects exhaustive digging and reaches well beyond the standard source materials. . . . Larson provides enough fresh perspective that even devotees of polar literature will learn things.”--Jennifer Kingson, New York Times Book Review

— Jennifer Kingson

Science Magazine

“A far more interesting and richer account than we have had thus far. . . . Larson has written a fascinating book, one sure to force a rethinking of the Scott-Amundsen race as well as reconsiderations that will include science as a driving force in Antarctic and indeed polar exploration.” —Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis, Science Magazine

— Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis

Times Higher Education
“…… [An] enlightening and entertaining new book, An Empire of Ice, seeks to rescue the exploits of Edwardian derring-do from the condescension of posterity by showing us how much more there was to what his subtitle refers to as the heroic age of Antarctic science.”—Robert J.Mayhew, Times Higher Education

— Robert J. Mayhew

New Scientist

“In this fascinating book…..Larson’s intriguing accounts begin to reveal the bigger picture of early scientific research in Antarctica and its place in European geopolitics of the time.”—Michael Bravo, New Scientist

— Michael Bravo

New York Times Book Review

An Empire of Ice reflects exhaustive digging and reaches well beyond the standard source materials. . . . Larson provides enough fresh perspective that even devotees of polar literature will learn things.”—Jennifer Kingson, New York Times Book Review

— Jennifer Kingson

National Outdoor Book Foundation

Awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2011 National Outdoor Book Awards

— National Outdoor Book Award Honorable Mention

The Antarctican Society Newsletter
“This is a great and needed book, highly worth reading whether your Antarctic focus is history or science.”—The Antarctican Society Newsletter
Choice

"Extremely well written and documented, An Empire of Ice is a gripping account that reads almost like a thriller."—J.D. Ives, Choice

— J.D. Ives

The Scotsman

“Larson is a brilliant researcher, going far beyond the standard source materials, so even devotees of polar literature will learn things”—Jennifer Kingson, The Scotsman

— Jennifer Kingson

The Good Book Guide
“…. [A] riveting account.”—The Good Book Guide
PEN International
Shortlisted for the 2012 Hessell-Tiltman prize. The prize of £3,000 is awarded annually for a non-fiction book of specifically historical content.

— Hessell-Tiltman Prize Shortlist

New York Times Book Review - Jennifer Kingson
An Empire of Ice reflects exhaustive digging and reaches well beyond the standard source materials. . . . Larson provides enough fresh perspective that even devotees of polar literature will learn things.”—Jennifer Kingson, New York Times Book Review
Science Magazine - Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis
“A far more interesting and richer account than we have had thus far. . . . Larson has written a fascinating book, one sure to force a rethinking of the Scott-Amundsen race as well as reconsiderations that will include science as a driving force in Antarctic and indeed polar exploration.” —Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis, Science Magazine
Peter Harrison
“Larson’s beautifully written narrative takes in the triumph and tragedy of the polar expeditions, and sheds new light on the scientific culture of the age. Entertaining, informative, and based on impeccable research, this book is a wonderful achievement.”—Peter Harrison, author of The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science
Daniel Kevles
“A riveting account of science, courage, and endurance, revealing that along with dreams of glory the quest for knowledge of Antarctica drove the explorations of the icy, forbidding continent.” —Daniel Kevles, Stanley Woodward Professor of History, Yale University
Bernard Lightman
“A fascinating account of the extensive and varied scientific research conducted by daring explorers racing to be the first to reach the South Pole. Whether he is discussing the first observations of the life cycle of the Emperor Penguin, the mapping of the ocean floor, or experiments in terrestrial magnetism, Larson’s book sparkles.”—Bernard Lightman, author of Popularizers of Victorian Science
Ronald L. Numbers
"Science is sometimes dull, but never in An Empire of Ice. Here the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Edward J. Larson tells the gripping story of the scientific exploration of Antarctica, where intrepid naturalists, often risking their lives, struggled to learn about emperor penguins, massive glaciers, and frozen fossils." —Ronald L. Numbers, Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Peter Bowler
"Edward Larson reveals that British exploration of the Antarctic was no mere 'dash to the pole', but an extended effort to conquer the last great wilderness for science."—Peter Bowler, author of The Earth Encompassed and Evolution: The History of an Idea
Times Higher Education - Robert J. Mayhew
“…… [An] enlightening and entertaining new book, An Empire of Ice, seeks to rescue the exploits of Edwardian derring-do from the condescension of posterity by showing us how much more there was to what his subtitle refers to as the heroic age of Antarctic science.”—Robert J.Mayhew, Times Higher Education
New Scientist - Michael Bravo
“In this fascinating book…..Larson’s intriguing accounts begin to reveal the bigger picture of early scientific research in Antarctica and its place in European geopolitics of the time.”—Michael Bravo, New Scientist
Choice - J.D. Ives
"Extremely well written and documented, An Empire of Ice is a gripping account that reads almost like a thriller."—J.D. Ives, Choice
PEN International - Hessell-Tiltman Prize Shortlist
Shortlisted for the 2012 Hessell-Tiltman prize. The prize of £3,000 is awarded annually for a non-fiction book of specifically historical content.
From the Publisher
"Larson succeeds in [his] approach to the popular subject of polar exploration by wrapping the science in plenty of dangerous drama to keep readers engaged." —-Booklist
National Outdoor Book Foundation - National Outdoor Book Award Honorable Mention
Awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2011 National Outdoor Book Awards
Library Journal
Pulitzer winner Larson (history, Peperdine Univ.; Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion) chronicles Britain's quest to conquer the unknown worlds of the North and South Poles, Africa's interior, and the ocean floor. Though it was said to be all in the name of science—and the explorations indeed did increase scientific knowledge manyfold—a good portion of the obsessive zeal to map new lands was rooted in potential commerce, personal glory, and further empowering an empire in decline. Larson follows the triumphs and disasters of Robert Scott, Ernest Shackleton, David Livingston, Roald Amundsen, and numerous other intrepid explorers, who risked life and limb to be the first to leave footprints in uncharted territory. These intrepid few suffered unimaginable hardships to achieve their goals—in fur booties and mittens, these guys were tough! VERDICT The narrative is a bit disjointed, but the author provides an undeniably exciting account without overpowering the reader with too much detail. Fans of these explorers, science heads, and armchair travelers will find this a worthwhile and thrilling read.—Mike Rogers, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews

Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Larson (History/Pepperdine Univ.; A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign, 2007, etc.) sheds new light on the famous three-way race to the South Pole.

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was the first to reach the pole, in 1912—returning in triumph to tell the tale—while British standard-bearer Robert Scott lagged behind by two weeks and perished on the ice. However, writes the author, this was not a defeat for Britain. While the Norwegian's primary aim was to "bag poles," the primary mission of the two British adventurers, Scott and Ernest Shackleton, was to carry out scientific research. This they did admirably, laying the groundwork for modern research in such diverse fields as marine biology, meteorology and glaciology. The story is not only about science, writes Larson, but "also about power and politics, culture and commerce; hubris and heroism at the end of the Earth." At the close of a London lecture sponsored by the Royal Geographical Society where Amundsen was the featured speaker, a cheer was raised for his dogs, "without whom," in the words of Lord Curzon, "Captain Amundsen would never have got to the Pole." In fact, Larson writes, the British ethos at the time centered on its imperial grandeur. The shock of defeat in the Boer war was counterbalanced by tales of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration and the three major expeditions by Scott and Shakleton, during which the explorers suffered terrible privation wintering on the ice with seal meat as their only food.

A satisfying tale of adventure and exploration.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300159769
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 408,727
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author


Edward J. Larson is University Professor of History and holds the Hugh & Hazel Darling Chair in Law at Pepperdine University. His numerous books include Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion, for which he received a Pulitzer Prize in History. Larson splits his time between Georgia and California.
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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Chapter 1 "Three Cheers for the Dogs" 1

Chapter 2 A Compass Pointing South 27

Chapter 3 The Empire's Mapmaker 61

Chapter 4 In Challengers Wake 95

Chapter 5 Taking the Measure of Men 133

Chapter 6 March to the Penguins 173

Chapter 7 Discovering a Continent's Past 211

Chapter 8 The Meaning of Ice 247

Epilogue: Heroes' Requiem 287

Notes 295

Index 317

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 4, 2012

    A well documented review of British exploration as an institution and extension of 19th Century imperial policy.

    The book title and cover photo reflect more of a marketing concept than the actual content of the book which covers much more than Scott and Amunsen. The content includes Spekes, Burton and other explorers in Africa. It provides an exposition on the Royal Geographic Society and its differences with the Royal Society in sponsoring and planning exploration. It remains a worthy read for those who are interested in the context of British exploration in the 19th and early 20th Century.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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