A Critical response to FLAWS IN THE ICE
Karyn Maguire Bradford, with an introduction by Beau Riffenburgh.
In 2013 the Australian author and historian, David Day, published Flaws in the Ice, a new biography of the Australian, Douglas Mawson.
When Karyn Bradford read the book she was somewhat incensed at the conclusions the author had reached about one of the Heroic Age’s foremost explorers, The negative picture Day presented was so much at odds with what she had thought from her previous extensive reading about Mawson that she decided to write this essay to analyse some of the most damning criticisms Day makes and to present a contrasting point of view based on evidence from many sources.
96pp, softback, illustrated; £14.00 REDUCED
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THIRD REICH IN ANTARCTICA.
The German Antarctic Expedition 1938-39.
Cornelia Lüdecke and Colin Summerhayes
The origins of the Third German Antarctic Expedition lie in a unique combination of the aspirations of German scientists to contribute to exploring and understanding the Antarctic environment, and the Nazi Party’s drive for self-sufficiency on the road to war. Germany had joined the whaling nations in the South Atlantic, keen to obtain whale oil without having to use valuable foreign currency reserves needed for rearmament. It decided to explore the possibility of setting up a supply base on the coast of
Dronning Maud Land and in the absence of any formal claim to that coast by Norway, saw an opportunity to claim Antarctic territory there for itself.
Councillor of State Helmut Wohlthat, the man in charge of German whaling, put this idea to his superior, Hermann Göring, the Commissioner for the Four Year Plan for economic development. Following consultation with other ministries, Göring approved the concept, and in May 1938 assigned resources for a reconnaissance expedition.
Thus the Third German Antarctic Expedition was born. When they set sail they did not even have a map of where they were going – it was their job to make one.
The expedition was led by Alfred Ritscher, a captain in the German navy aboard
MS Schwabenland, a freighter built in 1925 and renamed after the
Swabia region in Southern Germany. On 19 January 1939 it arrived in
Dronning Maud Land and began charting the region. Nazi German flags were placed on the sea ice along the coast and the area was named
Neu Schwabenland after the ship. Seven photographic survey flights were made by the ship’s two seaplanes which altogether flew over hundreds of thousands of square kilometres and took more than 16,000 aerial photographs. On its return trip to Germany the expedition made oceanographic studies near Bouvet Island and Fernando de Noronha, arriving back in
Hamburg on 11 April 1939.
This is the story of an ambitious and little-known expedition, which set out to map a large piece of Antarctica from the air, and in the process discovered an 800 km long mountain range and previously unsuspected freshwater lakes.
272pp +16pp colour and b&w plates. Hardback, jacketed, over 90 photographs, illustrations and maps.
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THE JAPANESE SOUTH POLAR EXPEDITION
1910 –12 — A Record of Antarctica
Compiled and edited by The Shirase Antarctic Expedition Supporter’s Association
Translated and edited by Lara Dagnell and Hilary Shibata
The Japanese Antarctic Expedition, 1910–12, under the leadership of army lieutenant Nobu Shirase was the first exploration of Antarctic territory by Japan. After initial scepticism about the expedition they sailed from Tokyo on 29 November 1910, in Kainan-maru, a vessel only 100 feet in length. They arrived in Wellington on 8 February 1911 and three days later departed for the Antarctic.
The entire trip south was dogged by poor weather and when the coast of Victoria Land was finally sighted conditions were so bad that a landing was impossible. They sailed on through the Ross Sea only to find even worse ice and soon it was impossible to go any further. Shirase ordered the crew to turn the ship northward for Australia. They arrived in Sydney on 1 May, 1911 and were initially greeted with suspicion and hostility. Captain Nomura went back to Japan, with the secretary to the expedition, returning some five months later with provisions, ships’ parts and other equipment.
During the following season a second attempt was made to reach an Antarctic landfall, with the specific objective of exploring King Edward VII Land. At the Great Ice Barrier they met Roald Amundsen's ship Fram, which was waiting in the Bay of Whales for the return of Amundsen's South Pole party. Seven men were landed on the Barrier and a ‘Dash Patrol’ journeyed southward to 80°05'S, at which point adverse weather and lack of food and time forced their return. Meanwhile the ship landed another party on the coast of King Edward VII Land, where an exploration of the lower slopes of the Alexandra Range was carried out.
In mid-February Kainan-maru returned to Japan, reaching Yokohama on 20 June 1912. The expedition had sailed some 27,000 miles since leaving Japan and despite not reaching the Pole, they had achieved many of their other goals. There was a tremendous reception upon their return to Tokyo. Nobu Shirase died in 1946.
416pp, + 8pp colour, hardback, blocked on front and spine, 100 photographs and illustrations.
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THE NIMROD MURDERS
On 30 July 1907, members of the British Antarctic Expedition, led by Ernest Shackleton, sailed down the Thames on the tiny, refurbished sealer
Nimrod. Some six months later, in February 1908, the expedition landed in Antarctica. At Cape Royds, Shackleton and his companions built a hut and set up camp. They then began their long wait for the following spring, when Shackleton would head into the icy unknown in an attempt to become the first man ever to reach the South Pole. In the worldwide fame and glory that followed the return of Shackleton’s party to civilisation, little was ever said about a dark incident that almost halted the expedition before it ever sailed from London’s East India Docks. On the eve of departure of the
Nimrod to the Antarctic, the body of the assistant biologist was found in the East India Docks. Without a doubt he had been murdered. Raymond Priestly, just short of his 21st birthday, had been appointed expedition geologist and was one of the first on the scene and it fell to him to undertake an investigation, along with Inspector William Taylor, an old school friend of Shackleton’s, into the events surrounding this dark deed. He had no knowledge of the danger into which he would soon be plunged.
Simon Beaufort is a pseudonym for a pair of academics formerly at the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge. One is an award-winning historian, the other a successful crime writer, who publishes under the name Susanna Gregory.
376pp Hardback, jacketed, signed by the author £16.95 REDUCED
Softback £9.95 REDUCED
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Douglas Mawson and the Australasian Antarctic
In 1911 Douglas Mawson organised and led the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) - a scientific investigation of the Antarctic on a scale never before considered. At the same time it was responsible for the exploration of vastly more territory than any other Antarctic expedition. It consisted of three land bases operated by 32 men, seven major sledging journeys (as well as numerous shorter ones), and a full oceanographic programme in addition to its shore-based scientific studies. Yet what was intended by Mawson to be a scientific exercise devoid of heroic adventure, also proved to be a tale of death, determination, and raw courage.
The dynamic character of Mawson, the expedition’s sheer scale, and the fact that most of what happened on it has never entered the public consciousness were very appealing reasons to investigate such an epic venture. Compiled, for the first time, from all the available sources—diaries, correspondence and reports— the result is the first examination of the full expedition since Mawson’s
The Home of the Blizzard was published in 1915. It was Mawson who...of all Southern explorers, gave the world the greatest contributions in polar science and his own people the greatest territorial possessions in the Antarctic.
…the greatest survival story in the history of Exploration Sir Edmund Hillary
Beau Riffenburgh is an historian specialising in exploration, particularly Polar. He served for 14 years as editor of Polar Record, headed the Scott Polar Research Institute’s Polar History Group and lectured in Cambridge University’s History Faculty. He has written numerous books on polar exploration, including
The Myth of the Explorer, and Nimrod, the tale of Shackleton’s heroic attempt on the South Pole. He was also the editor of the award-winning, two-volume
Encyclopaedia of the Antarctic, the most comprehensive Antarctic reference work ever published.
536pp, hardback, jacketed, over 70 photographs, 11 maps and drawings, 1 pull out-map: £37.50 REDUCED
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TRACKS – Today’s Heroic Age of Polar Adventure
For little more than 100 years the Arctic and Antarctic have inspired some of the greatest stories ever told. The exploits of Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton and many, many others have inspired and awed millions of people over the years.
Ice Tracks brings together for the first time the accounts of eighteen of our greatest present day Polar explorers — Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Robert Swan, Rosie Stancer and Ann Daniels, Matty McNair and Dr Viktor Boyarsky
— English, Russian, Swedish, Canadian — they all share a love of the extreme.
Their expeditions across the two Poles have demanded extraordinary bravery, unimaginable privation and sometimes a little luck.
Ice Tracks, with its superb photographs, leaves no iceberg unturned to lay bare today’s Polar world.
160pp, in full colour with over 70 photographs, maps and drawings REDUCED
THE POLE. Edmund Hillary and the Trans-Antarctic Expedition
< click the pic
< click the pic
In 1957 on the Antarctic Plateau Sir Edmund Hillary, the great New Zealand mountaineer, raced his expedition leader, Vivian Fuchs, to the South Pole for reasons that were never fully explained. Hillary’s spin was that the Pole was there and he had time and fuel to get there first: so he did.
Hillary’s actions threw Fuchs’ Trans Antarctic Expedition into confusion. When he then suggested that Fuchs halt his march across Antarctica at the Pole and return a year later to complete the historic crossing, Hillary appeared to be approaching a state of mutiny on the ice: he was roundly criticised by many interested in Antarctic affairs, except that at home in New Zealand his spin took root and has never been vigorously challenged.
Examining records that could more fully explain why Hillary acted as he did took the writer into part of the history of the TAE: the part that somehow had escaped close examination for around half a century.
When the New Zealand Prime Minister heard that Hillary was to go on the expedition he remarked:
"Edmund Hillary climbed Everest, they think he can climb the South Pole too."
John Thomson is the author of the acclaimed Elephant Island & Beyond – the Life and Diaries of Thomas Orde Lees which was described by the historian and writer on Polar matters, Joe O’Farrell, as one of his own personal top-ten favourite polar books which have given him the greatest reading pleasure.
168pp, softback, over 35 photographs and maps
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