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Mawson and the Ice Men of the Heroic Age

Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen
Narrated by: Paul English
Length: 23 hrs and 54 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Summary

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
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

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Highly readable

A very well written truly inspiring story of wonderful people who struggled against all the odds and it was a very well narrated book as wellHighly recommend to anyone interested in Antarctic adventures

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An excellent listen

Would you consider the audio edition of Mawson and the Ice Men of the Heroic Age to be better than the print version?

Not having read the print version I can't comment

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would have liked to listen in one sitting but it was too long for that

Any additional comments?

This was an excellent book read by a very good narrator. I learnt a lot about explorers I'd never heard of and their amazing experiences.
I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who's interested in real people and what they put themselves through in the cause of science and exploration

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A very fine book

One of the best books I've read a must for anyone who is interested in the antartic

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  • Windswept
  • 21-11-12

A Real Life "Boys Own" Adventure Story

Would you listen to Mawson and the Ice Men of the Heroic Age again? Why?

Yes, and intend to do so. It is long and detailed but so fascinating in its account of events in early 20th century Antarctic.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Greg
  • 05-02-15

Great book

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

1 person found this helpful

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  • Servo
  • 08-09-14

Ice ice, baby.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

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.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

Which scene was your favorite?

The Scott party...what a disaster.

Could you see Mawson and the Ice Men of the Heroic Age being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Very easily, if they haven't already. Anyone, but Clooney.

Any additional comments?

You get the feel of how important these things were back then. The whole world was watching.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hugh
  • 31-07-12

Wonderful History

Where does Mawson and the Ice Men of the Heroic Age rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very high. Peter Fitzsimons is an amazing researcher and he does more than just recite historical facts. A must for history buffs!

What other book might you compare Mawson and the Ice Men of the Heroic Age to and why?

This book is typical of Fitzsimons best stories.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tony DiNallo
  • 10-06-12

A great adventure story!

Where does Mawson and the Ice Men of the Heroic Age rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Mawson and the Ice Men of the Heroic Age?

Amundsun reaching the South Pole and discovering they were actually the first to reach the pole.

Which character – as performed by Paul English – was your favorite?

Mawson followed by Amundsen

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nicholas Robinson
  • 13-05-20

The Historical Present: Annoyance Beyond Measure

After I had given up on "Burke & Wills," Fitzsimon's tome on the misadventures of said bungling "adventurers"—simply because the whole turgid mess had devolved into a courtroom procedural, up with which I reluctantly could not put, and Fitzsimon's puerile efforts at humour, combined with the narrator's attempts at various accents, all which ended up as a strange mishmash of German and Irish, just had me metaphorically (and wishfully, literally) slamming the book shut roughly at the 66%-finished mark. I simply could not take any more.

Imagine my chagrin, while searching for another book to read, and finding this one, having bought it pretty much sight unseen, to suddenly be listening to the Historical Present—that's the tense in which things in the past are described as if they are in the present—and just wanting to SCREAM at having been nailed again with a 20-hour "And Scott picks up the ice axe and clobbers Mackay squarely between the ears" "Biggles Goes To The South Pole" adventure . . . this time read by someone else but still with the singsong accents that don't know quite what Shire they hail from and a narrative that jumps around like an ant on Benzedrine.

I don't think Audible returns your credits on books you can't finish but if they do (Hello, Audible!) I would dearly like to turn this one back in, and get back my credit for it (same for the Burke and Wills book) and next time I PROMISE I'll look at the book's author's name and never, ever, EVER again choose a book by Peter Fitzsimons

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian Ross
  • 05-02-16

BEST book for comprehensive Antarctica exploration

I enjoyed this book for being detailed but not tedious, and for sincerely serving the chronology and facts of the explorations as well as the humanity of the explorers.

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  • P.
  • 22-05-15

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.