Australia's best-selling nonfiction author of all time. Douglas Mawson, born in 1882 and knighted in 1914, was Australia's greatest Antarctic explorer. On 2 December 1911, he led an expedition 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 realised it was too dangerous to go on. With the scant food and provisions they had left, turning back was almost equally perilous. Their 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 Mertz, and he succumbed to madness and then to death. Mawson found himself all alone, 160 miles from safety, with next to no food. Peter FitzSimons tells the staggering tale of Mawson's survival, despite all the odds, arriving back just in time to see his rescue ship disappearing over the horizon. He also masterfully interweaves the stories of the other giants from the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration - Scott of the Antarctic, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Roald Amundsen - to bring the jaw-dropping events of this bygone era dazzlingly back to life.
©2011 Peter FitzSimons (P)2011 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"A Real Life "Boys Own" Adventure Story"
Yes, and intend to do so. It is long and detailed but so fascinating in its account of events in early 20th century Antarctic.
This account is history brought to life through the diaries and logs of each explorer and many of their men who travelled the journey to the Antarctic. It's recounted in the present tense, so you feel that you are there as the story unfolds. Included are so many interesting facts about the region, the equipment and the improvised methods used to overcome extreme difficulties, all extremely compelling listening. Also, there are many moments of both humour and sadness.
I was surprised just how much I enjoyed this book. If you like real-life adventure and modern history told in an accessible and entertaining manner, then this book is for you. I will be on the lookout for other books by Peter FitzSimons. Highly recommended.
Very high. Peter Fitzsimons is an amazing researcher and he does more than just recite historical facts. A must for history buffs!
This book is typical of Fitzsimons best stories.
"A great adventure story!"
Rank 8/10, as captivating as the books by Stephen Hawking. There is a sense of awe and amazement in the journey itself, but also a sense of disbelief in the arrogant nature of English explorers at the time and the belief that they knew what's best. Makes you wonder if Gallipoli could have been different if we weren't under the command of the British. This book itself expresses every detail, you feel as if you're part of the expedition itself.
Amundsun reaching the South Pole and discovering they were actually the first to reach the pole.
Mawson followed by Amundsen
The deaths of the explorers trying to reach the pole and the knowledge that their bodies lie preserved in the ice, slowly inching towards the ocean.
This is really the only way to learn about Australia's history. Keep up the good work Peter Fitzsimons. Narration by Paul English is excellent, however the falsetto voices for females would best be substituted with real female voices.
"All should read this"
Absolutely wonderful! Having recently visited Hobart, Tasmania and serendipitously toured the replica of Mawson's Hut, I sought a biography of him and, luckily, this was it. A riveting story of adventure, heroics, tragedy and exploration.
Awesome book, in depth but keeps you interested. I recommend this for anyone wanting to get a more human aspect of polar travel and the risks faced
"Ice ice, baby."
Sure, it was interesting enough, though I took a few days to finish it as I was going to other books in order to take a break from this one. Felt very long, like the previous sentence I just wrote.
The history of the race to the pole. I've read several north pole books and didn't know much about this one. I was surprised by what happened.
The Scott party...what a disaster.
Very easily, if they haven't already. Anyone, but Clooney.
You get the feel of how important these things were back then. The whole world was watching.
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