One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at Quark Expeditions (aside from "What do I pack? and "Any tips for handling the Drake Passage?") is what our recommended reading for Antarctica is. When preparing for their journey south, excited history-buffs often want to read all about past explorers and get into the polar mindset.
Victoria Salem, Historian aboard the Sea Spirit during our Antarctic voyages has put together a fantastic list of books for the passionate polar buff and we are excited to share it here!
Let Heroes Speak: Antarctic explorers 1772 – 1922 by Michael H. Rosove – contains chapters on the great and the forgotten heroes of Antarctic exploration, including Otto Nordenskjold of the 1901 – 03 Swedish Antarctic expedition to the Weddell Sea.
The Storied Ice: Exploration, Discovery, and Adventure in Antarctica’s Peninsula Region by Joan N. Boothe – a comprehensive, well-written book specifically focusing on the places we have been!
SCOTT & AMUNDSEN
Scott’s Last Expedition/The Voyage of the Discovery – very well-written and readable account by Scott himself
The Last place on Earth/Scott and Amundsen by Roland Huntford – very detailed and well-researched account of Scott and Amundsen’s famous race to the Pole. A great supporter of Amundsen and a great debunker of Scott. Very interesting, though extremely (obsessively?) anti-Scott.
Captain Scott by Ranulph Fiennes – A much easier read than Huntford’s tome; sets out to debunk the debunking of Scott and vindicate his heroic reputation. Extremely (obsessively?) pro-Scott. Also very interesting – draw your own conclusions!
The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard – A wonderfully written account of Scott’s last expedition, with emphasis on Cherry-Garrard/Wilson/Bowers’winter journey to Cape Crozier for emperor penguin eggs.
Endurance and Shackleton’s Boat Journey by F A Worsley – An easy and fascinating read by a great supporter of Shackleton.
Shackleton by Roland Huntford – Very detailed and well-researched account of Shackleton’s life and expeditions. But bear in mind Huntford’s obsessive debunking of the Scott myth when considering his objectivity over Shackleton.
Shackleton’s Forgotten Men by Lennard Bickel – A fascinating account of the fate of Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, who were laying supporting depots for his Antarctic crossing; he never came, but they completed their appointed task at great cost.
NOVELS ON ANTARCTICA
Antarctica by Kim Stanley-Robinson – a sci-fi, futuristic, political novel set against
a backdrop of one version of a future Antarctica. Highly recommended.
Skating to Antarctica by Jenny Diski – a compelling account of a journey to
Antarctica and an inner journey of the spirit.
Mrs Chippy’s Last Expedition by Caroline Alexander – a cat’s eye view of
Shackleton’s Endurance expedition!