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

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Australian journalist FitzSimons (Charles Kingsford Smith and Those Magnificent Men) revisits the "heroic age of exploration," and in particular the quest from 1907 to 1914 to reach Earth's geographic South Pole. FitzSimons interweaves the narratives of Antarctic explorers Douglas Mawson, Roald Amundsen, Ernest Shackleton, Robert Scott, and their teams as they trek and winter their way through Antarctica. Mawson (1882–1958) was part of the first team to reach the South Magnetic Pole and was the sole survivor of the Far Eastern exploration party, enduring a monthlong, 100-mile journey alone back to base camp. This thoroughly researched account brings the early Antarctic explorers to life through newspaper headlines, journal entries, and telegrams, all delivered as if in real time. VERDICT Although this is a story of heroic feats, it gathers its force via its smaller details—how Antarctic winters shatter teeth or the way Mawson writes to his lover at home. Readers of biography, history, adventure, and scientific exploration will all find something rewarding in this book.—Talea Anderson, Walla Walla, WA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781741666601
  • Publisher: Random House Australia
  • Publication date: 4/1/2012
  • Pages: 765
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 2.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter FitzSimons is a journalist with the Sun-Herald and the Sydney Morning Herald, and the author of more than 20 books, including How Hemlines Predict the Economy.

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Table of Contents

Maps xi

Relief drawing of Ross Island, the Great Ice Barrier and surrounds xvii

Background and Acknowledgements xviii

Author's Note xxv

Prologue 1

Introduction Discovering Antarctica 9

Part 1 With Shackleton

Chapter 1 Go South, Young Man, Go South 51

Chapter 2 Into the Night and Out into the Wilderness 93

Chapter 3 Getting Home 130

Part 2 Three Men Get Organised

Chapter 4 Australian Heroes 171

Chapter 5 Departures 209

Chapter 6 Journey to the Bottom of the Earth 242

Chapter 7 Trails and Erros 279

Part 3 Antarctica Under Siege

Chapter 8 Under Way 309

Chapter 9 To the South! 354

Chapter 10 Cape Denison 394

Part 4 Struggles

Chapter 11 Settling 443

Chapter 12 The Winter Months 482

Chapter 13 Into the Wide White Yonder 521

Chapter 14 A Close-Run Thing 563

Chapter 15 Now Is the Winter of Our Discontent 601

Epilogue 657

Notes and References 682

Bibliography 713

Index 721

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