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Alone
The Classic Polar Adventure
Richard E. Byrd
Island Press, 1966

When Admiral Richard E. Byrd set out on his second Antarctic expedition in 1934, he was already an international hero for having piloted the first flights over the North and South Poles. His plan for this latest adventure was to spend six months alone near the bottom of the world, gathering weather data and indulging his desire “to taste peace and quiet long enough to know how good they really are.” But early on things went terribly wrong. Isolated in the pervasive polar night with no hope of release until spring, Byrd began suffering inexplicable symptoms of mental and physical illness. By the time he discovered that carbon monoxide from a defective stovepipe was poisoning him, Byrd was already engaged in a monumental struggle to save his life and preserve his sanity.

When Alone was first published in 1938, it became an enormous bestseller. This edition keeps alive Byrd’s unforgettable narrative for new generations of readers.

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Among Penguins
A Bird Man in Antarctica
Noah Strycker
Oregon State University Press, 2011

The year he graduated from college, 22-year-old Noah Strycker was dropped by helicopter in a remote Antarctic field camp with two bird scientists and a three months’ supply of frozen food. His subjects: more than a quarter million penguins.

Compact, industrious, and approachable, the Adélie Penguins who call Antarctica home visit their breeding grounds each Antarctic summer to nest and rear their young before returning to sea. Because of long-term studies, scientists may know more about how these penguins will adjust to climate change than about any other creature in the world.

Bird scientists like Noah are less well known. Like the intrepid early explorers of Antarctica, modern scientists drawn to the frozen continent face an utterly inhospitable landscape, one that inspires, isolates, and punishes.

With wit, curiosity, and a deep knowledge of his subject, Strycker recounts the reality of life at the end of the Earth—thousand-year-old penguin mummies, hurricane-force blizzards, and day-to-day existence in below freezing temperatures—and delves deep into a world of science, obsession, and birds.

Among Penguins weaves a captivating tale of penguins and their researchers on the coldest, driest, highest, and windiest continent on Earth. Birders, lovers of the Antarctic, and fans of first-person adventure narratives will be fascinated by Strycker’s book.

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The Big Bang Symphony
A Novel of Antarctica
Lucy Jane Bledsoe
University of Wisconsin Press, 2010
Antarctica is a vortex that draws you back, season after season. The place is so raw and pure, all seal hide and crystalline iceberg. The fishbowl communities at McMurdo Station, South Pole Station, and in the remote field camps intensify relationships, jack all emotion up to a 10. The trick is to get what you need and then get out fast.
    At least that’s how thirty-year-old Rosie Moore views it as she flies in for her third season on the Ice. She plans to avoid all entanglements, romantic and otherwise, and do her work as a galley cook. But when her flight crash-lands, so do all her plans.
    Mikala Wilbo, a brilliant young composer whose heart—and music—have been frozen since the death of her partner, is also on that flight. She has come to the Ice as an artist-in-residence, to write music, but also to secretly check out the astrophysicist father she has never met.
    Arriving a few weeks later, Alice Neilson, a graduate student in geology who thinks in charts and equations, is thrilled to leave her dependent mother and begin her career at last. But from the start she is aware that her post-doc advisor, with whom she will work in Antarctica, expects much more from their relationship.
    As the three women become increasingly involved in each other’s lives, they find themselves deeply transformed by their time on the Ice. Each falls in love. Each faces challenges she never thought she would meet. And ultimately, each finds redemption in a depth and quality of friendship that only the harsh beauty of Antarctica can engender.
 
 
Finalist, Lambda Literary Awards
 
Finalist, Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction, awarded by the Publishing Triangle
 
Finalist, Northern California Independent Booksellers Association
 
Honorable Mention, Foreword Magazine’s Gay/Lesbian Fiction Book of the Year
 
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Association
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Deep Freeze
The United States, the International Geophysical Year, and the Origins of Antarctica's Age of Science
Dian Olson Belanger
University Press of Colorado, 2006
In Deep Freeze, Dian Olson Belanger tells the story of the pioneers who built viable communities, made vital scientific discoveries, and established Antarctica as a continent dedicated to peace and the pursuit of science, decades after the first explorers planted flags in the ice.

In the tense 1950s, even as the world was locked in the Cold War, U.S. scientists, maintained by the Navy's Operation Deep Freeze, came together in Antarctica with counterparts from eleven other countries to participate in the International Geophysical Year (IGY). On July 1, 1957, they began systematic, simultaneous scientific observations of the south-polar ice and atmosphere. Their collaborative success over eighteen months inspired the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, which formalized their peaceful pursuit of scientific knowledge. Still building on the achievements of the individuals and distrustful nations thrown together by the IGY from mutually wary military, scientific, and political cultures, science prospers today and peace endures.

The year 2007 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the IGY and the commencement of a new International Polar Year - a compelling moment to review what a singular enterprise accomplished in a troubled time. Belanger draws from interviews, diaries, memoirs, and official records to weave together the first thorough study of the dawn of Antarctica's scientific age. Deep Freeze offers absorbing reading for those who have ventured onto Antarctic ice and those who dream of it, as well as historians, scientists, and policy makers.

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Discerning Experts
The Practices of Scientific Assessment for Environmental Policy
Michael Oppenheimer, Naomi Oreskes, Dale Jamieson, Keynyn Brysse, Jessica O’Reilly, Matthew Shindell, and Milena Wazeck
University of Chicago Press, 2019
Discerning Experts assesses the assessments that many governments rely on to help guide environmental policy and action. Through their close look at environmental assessments involving acid rain, ozone depletion, and sea level rise, the authors explore how experts deliberate and decide on the scientific facts about problems like climate change. They also seek to understand how the scientists involved make the judgments they do, how the organization and management of assessment activities affects those judgments, and how expertise is identified and constructed.
 
Discerning Experts uncovers factors that can generate systematic bias and error,  and  recommends how the process can be improved. As the first study of the internal workings of large environmental assessments, this book reveals their  strengths and weaknesses,  and explains what assessments can—and cannot—be expected to contribute to public policy and the common good.
 
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Footsteps on the Ice
The Antarctic Diaries of Stuart D. Paine, Second Byrd Expedition
Stuart D. Paine, Edited & Intro by M. L. Paine
University of Missouri Press, 2007

In 1933 Antarctica was essentially unexplored. Admiral Richard Byrd launched his Second Expedition to chart the southernmost continent, primarily relying on the muscle power of dog teams and their drivers who skied or ran beside the loaded sledges as they traveled. The life-threatening challenges of moving glaciers, invisible crevasses, and horrific storms compounded the difficulties of isolation, darkness, and the unimaginable cold that defined the men’s lives.

Stuart Paine was a dog driver, radio operator, and navigator on the fifty-six-man expedition, the bold and complex venture that is now famous for Byrd’s dramatic rescue from Bolling Advance Weather Base located 115 miles inland. Paine’s diaries represent the only published contemporary account written by a member of the Second Expedition. They reveal a behind-the-scenes look at the contentiousness surrounding the planned winter rescue of Byrd and offer unprecedented insights into the expedition’s internal dynamics.

Equally riveting is Paine’s breathtaking narrative of the fall and summer field operations as the field parties depended on their own resources in the face of interminable uncertainty and peril. Undertaking the longest and most hazardous sledging journey of the expedition, Paine guided the first American party from the edge of the Ross Sea more than seven hundred miles up the Ross Ice Shelf and the massive Thorne (Scott) Glacier to approach the South Pole. He and two other men skied more than fourteen hundred miles in eighty-eight days to explore and map part of Antarctica for the first time.

Footsteps on the Ice reveals the daily struggles, extreme personalities, and the matter-of-fact bravery of early explorers who are now fading into history. Detailing the men’s frustrations, annoyances, and questioning of their leader, Paine’s entries provide rare insight into how Byrd conducted his expeditions. Paine exposes the stresses of living under the snow in Little America during the four-month-long winter night, trapped in dim, crowded huts and black tunnels, while the men uneasily mulled over their leader’s isolation at Advance Base. The fates of Paine’s dogs, which provided some of his most difficult and rewarding experiences, are also described—his relationship with Jack, his lead dog, is an entrancing story in itself.

Featuring previously unpublished photographs and illustrations, Footsteps on the Ice documents the period in Antarctic exploration that bridged the “heroic era” and the modern age of mechanized travel. Depicting almost incomprehensible mental and physical duress and unhesitating courage, Paine’s tale is one of the most compelling stories in polar history, surpassing other accounts with its immediacy and adventure as it captures the majesty and mystery of the untouched Antarctic.

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In the Antarctic Circle
Dennis James Sweeney
Autumn House Press, 2021
This collection addresses issues of identity as two people find themselves living in an uncommon landscape. Through hybrid narrative prose poems, Hank and an unnamed narrator try to navigate their relationship and understand their identities amid a landscape that offers them almost nothing. The continent at first seems empty, but something emerges in the vacuum of Antarctica. The narrator’s gender skips and changes, and the characters’ self-awareness grows into a sort of horror. Dennis James Sweeney’s poems consider the fullness of emptiness, revealing attempts to love and grow when surrounded by a white and frigid landscape that seems to go on forever.

The space of these poems is something beyond the Antarctic of scientific exploration, the icy outpost that has served for so long as a masculine proving ground for polar explorers. This is the Antarctica of domestic disharmony, of love amid loneliness, where two people encounter themselves in the changeless breadth at the end of the world.

In the Antarctic Circle is the winner of the Autumn House Press 2020 Rising Writer Prize in Poetry.
 
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Journeys with Emperors
Tracking the World's Most Extreme Penguin
Gerald L. Kooyman and Jim Mastro
University of Chicago Press, 2023
With stunning photographs from the ice edge, a firsthand account of a researcher’s time in Antarctica and of the perilous journeys of the world’s largest penguin species: the iconic emperor.
 
Nearly all emperor penguin colonies are extremely remote; of the sixty-six known, fewer than thirty have been visited by humans, and even fewer have been the subject of successful research programs. One of the largest known emperor penguin colonies is found on a narrow band of sea ice attached to the Antarctic continent. In Journeys with Emperors, Gerald L. Kooyman and Jim Mastro take us to this far-flung colony in the Ross Sea, showing us how scientists gained access to it, and what they learned while living among the penguins as they raised their chicks.
 
The primary mission was to record the birds’ activities at sea, and the data revealed important aspects of emperor penguin behavior and physiology: for instance, that in the course of hunting for food, some of the penguins dive to depths of greater than five hundred meters (a third of a mile, which is deeper than for any other diving bird). The researchers also discovered that, crucially, most of the emperor’s life is actually spent at sea, with fledged chicks and adults making separate, perilous journeys through icy water. When chick nurturing is complete, the fledglings abandon the colony in large groups, heading north to the Southern Ocean. The adults leave at the same time, traveling one thousand kilometers eastward across the Ross Sea to a sea-ice sanctuary for molting. During this journey, they must gain enough weight to survive the month-long molt, when every feather is replaced and the birds cannot enter the water to feed. After the molt, many if not most return to the colony to breed once again. For the males, this means another fast—this time for 120 days as they incubate their eggs. The nearness of the colony to the ice edge spared the penguins the long, energy-draining march for which other colonies are well-known. It also allowed researchers to observe the penguins’ departures to and arrivals from their foraging journeys, as well as their dangerous interactions with leopard seals and killer whales.
 
Featuring original color photographs and complemented with online videos, Journeys with Emperors is both an eye-opening overview of the emperor penguin’s life and a thrilling tale of scientific discovery in one of the most remote, harsh, and beautiful places on Earth.
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North by 2020
Perspectives on Alaska’s Changing Social-Ecological Systems
Edited by Amy Lauren Lovecraft and Hajo Eicken
University of Alaska Press, 2011

Originating from a series of workshops held at the Alaska Forum of the Fourth International Polar Year, this interdisciplinary volume addresses a host of current concerns regarding the ecology and rapid transformation of the arctic. Concentrating on the most important linked social-ecological systems, including fresh water, marine resources, and oil and gas development, this volume explores opportunities for sustainable development from a variety of perspectives, among them social sciences, natural and applied sciences, and the arts. Individual chapters highlight expressions of climate change in dance, music, and film, as well as from an indigenous knowledge–based perspective.

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Otherworldly Antarctica
Ice, Rock, and Wind at the Polar Extreme
Edmund Stump
University of Chicago Press, 2024
With stunning original photographs, an Antarctic scientist and explorer takes us to one of the most sublime, remote, and pristine regions on the planet.
 
The interior of Antarctica is an utterly pristine wilderness, a desolate landscape of ice, wind, and rock; a landscape so unfamiliar as to seem of another world. This place has been known to only a handful of early explorers and the few scientists fortunate enough to have worked there. Edmund Stump is one of the lucky few. Having climbed, photographed, and studied more of the continent-spanning Transantarctic Mountains than any other person on Earth, this geologist, writer, and photographer is uniquely suited to share these alien sights.

With stories of Stump’s forty years of journeys and science, Otherworldly Antarctica contains 130 original color photographs, complemented by watercolors and sketches by artist Marlene Hill Donnelly. Over three chapters—on the ice, the rock, and the wind—we meet snowy paths first followed during Antarctica’s Heroic Age, climb the central spire of the Organ Pipe Peaks, peer into the crater of the volcanic Mount Erebus, and traverse Liv Glacier on snowmobile, while avoiding fatal falls into the blue interiors of hidden crevasses. Along the way, we see the beauty of granite, marble, and ice-cored moraines, meltwater ponds, lenticular clouds, icebergs, and glaciers. Many of Stump’s breathtaking images are aerial shots taken from the planes and helicopters that brought him to the interior. More were shot from vantages gained by climbing the mountains he studied. Some were taken from the summits of peaks. Many are of places no one had set foot before—or has since. All seem both permanent and precarious, connecting this otherworld to our fragile own.
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A Seal Named Patches
Roxanne Beltran and Patrick Robinson
University of Alaska Press, 2017
Two polar explorers are out to solve a mystery: Where is their special seal, Patches?

Scientists Roxanne Beltran and Patrick Robinson set off on a polar adventure, traveling to Antarctica to study the lives of Weddell seals. By finding Patches, a wily seal they’ve been tracking since its birth, they’ll be able to learn a lot about how much the seals get to eat and how many pups they raise. A Seal Named Patches takes young readers into the world at the very bottom of the globe, where they meet the extraordinary animals that live in cold, icy conditions. Through breathtaking photos and real-life stories, young readers will learn about how scientists do fieldwork, the challenges of researching animals in harsh climates, and even what it’s like to fly a helicopter over Antarctica. This engaging story will especially entertain and educate children in grades K-2 (ages 5–8.)
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Slicing the Silence
Voyaging to Antarctica
Tom Griffiths
Harvard University Press, 2007

From Scott and Shackleton to sled dogs and penguins, stories of Antarctica seize our imagination. In December 2002, environmental historian Tom Griffiths set sail with the Australian Antarctic Division to deliver the new team of winterers. In this beautifully written book, Griffiths reflects on the history of human experiences in Antarctica, taking the reader on a journey of discovery, exploration, and adventure in an unforgettable land.

He weaves together meditations on shipboard life during his three-week voyage with fascinating forays into the history and nature of Antarctica. He brings alive the great age of sail in the initiation of travelers to the great winds of the “roaring forties.” No continent is more ruled by wind, and Griffiths explains why Antarctica is a barometer of global climatic health. He charts the race to the South Pole, from its inception as part of the drive to map Earth’s magnetism, to the reasons for Robert Scott’s tragic death. He also offers vivid descriptions of life in Antarctica, such as the experience of a polar night, the importance of food for morale, and coping with solitude.

A charming narrative and an informative history, Slicing the Silence is an intimate portrait of the last true wilderness.

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South × South
Poems from Antarctica
Charles Hood
Ohio University Press, 2013

A vivid and insightful look at the culture and terrain of Antarctica, as well as the people who choose to live and work there, South × South celebrates and explores life at the extreme edge of our planet. Blending travel narrative, historical research, and the surprises of magical realism, Hood presents life in Antarctica and the history of polar aviation as both a miracle of achievement yet also as a way to understand humanity’s longing to be creatures of the heavens as well as the earth. South × South is poetry at its most inventive and surprising, insisting that the world is stranger and more glorious than we ever might have guessed.

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South Pole Station
Ashley Shelby
University of Minnesota Press, 2024

A New York TimesBook Review Editors’ Choice

A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year

Hudson Booksellers Book of the Year

One of the New York Post’s Best Books of the Summer

One of The Millions’s Most Anticipated Books of the Year

IndieNext Pick

A Time Magazine “What to Read Now” Selection


A wry novel set at the edge of the earth about the courage it takes to band together, even as everything around you falls apart

Unmoored by a recent family tragedy, Cooper Gosling is adrift at thirty and on the verge of ruining her career. So when the opportunity arises to join the National Science Foundation’s Artists & Writers Program in Antarctica, she jumps at the chance—and finds herself in the company of others who are just abnormal enough for Polar life, a group of eccentrics motivated by desires as ambiguous as her own. When they are joined by a fringe scientist who claims climate change is a hoax, the Polies’ already-imbalanced community is rattled, bringing them to the center of a global controversy and threatening the ancient ice chip they call home.

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Voyage To The End Of T/World
D Burke
University Press of Colorado, 2005


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