12 Best Books About Antarctica Update 05/2022

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Antarctica is desolate, empty land and an unforgiving, icy desert that never gives up. The most remote and harshest places also make for the most difficult challenges and the best stories, like those of daring polar exploration and incredible survival stories, which are often told in books and movies. Here are 12 of our favorite books about Antarctica that we think will help people who want to learn more about this adventurous and fascinating place.

To get you ready for your own Antarctic cruise, we’ve put together a list of some of the best books about Antarctica. They include autobiographies written by some of the country’s first explorers, detailed wildlife guides, and a fun look at Antarctica’s “foodie scene.”

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing

They say that one of the best stories about the Antarctic is the true story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s survival after his ship was stuck and crushed by ice in the Weddell Sea and he had to stay alive.

Alfred Lansing makes this great polar adventure come to life. His book, South: The Endurance Expedition, is thought to be the best account of Shackleton’s heroic journey, even better than Shackleton’s own account in South: The Endurance Expedition.

Mawson’s Will, Lennard Bickel

Douglas Mawson had to deal with some of the most difficult hardships during his polar exploration. This is no small feat, given the many stories of survival that come from exploring the Great White Continent. The loss of his travel partner, his dogs, his supplies, the skin on his hands and feet, crazy weather, starvation, disease, snowblindness, and so on. 100 years after his Antarctic expedition came to an end, Mawson’s unbreakable spirit still inspires people.

People who like Mawson and Sir Edmund Hillary write in the book’s preface that it was “the most outstanding solo journey in Antarctic history.”

The Birthday Boys, Beryl Bainbridge

Bainbridge makes up the story of Robert Falcon Scott’s failed South Pole expedition in her retelling of the Antarctic journey. It is hard to get through the landscape and the damage done to the human spirit when the crew doesn’t make it to the South Pole. Later, they have to face their own mortality.

Race to the Pole, Ranulph Fiennes

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is also a big fan of Robert Falcon Scott. He has been named the world’s best explorer by the Guinness Book of World Records. In this historical biography, Fiennes tries to write the most accurate account of the doomed Scott expedition by getting access to the Scott estate and information from important people, like Scott’s polar rival, Roald Amundsen, who was also on the expedition.

Scott and Amundsen: The Last Place on Earth, Roland Huntford

To start with, Huntford wrote about the race to the South Pole, which is the first in a three-book arc about polar people. The book is known for using original sources from Norway.

Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen both had big goals when they planned their expeditions to compete for the most sought-after prize in exploration. Amundsen’s mission was a success, and the team planted Norway’s flag first. Scott’s never made it back to the United States, though.

Race to the South Pole, Roald Amundsen

If you want to learn more about Amundsen’s life, you can read his essays and diary entries, which are also interesting. The polar explorer starts by looking at the history of Antarctic exploration. Then, he shows how he prepared for his own expedition, and the last part of the book includes diary entries from his race to the South Pole, as well as black-and-white photos of the successful trip.

Alone, Richard Byrd

On his second Antarctic expedition in 1934, Byrd flew over both the North and South Poles for the first time, becoming the first person to do this. “To taste peace and quiet long enough for us to know how good they are.” It also happens that Byrd’s physical and mental health starts to go downhill in the cold, with no hope of getting out until spring. He realizes that he is slowly being poisoned by CO2.

This book, which was written in 1938 and was a huge hit, tells the story of the author’s struggle to live and stay sane in one of the most hostile places on the planet.

Forgotten Footprints: Lost Stories in the Discovery of Antarctica, John Harrison

Though the adventures of Antarctica’s great polar explorers have been well-known for a long time, what about the other people who helped map the continent? This book is a collection of stories from merchantmen, sailors, whalers, scientists and more who were all drawn to the unknown land. Harrison blends history and geography with myth and legend as well as personal anecdotes.

Natural History of the Antarctic Peninsula, Sanford Moss

The natural history of Antarctica is just as interesting as the stories about humans on the southern continent. In this book, we learn about harsh environments and the amazing amount of life that thrives there. Penguins, seals, and whales are just a few of the animal and plant species we’ll learn about.

Hoosh: Roast Penguin, Scurvy Day, and Other Stories of Antarctic Cuisine, Jason C. Anthony

Check out this award-winning guide to food in Antarctica if you want something completely different. Anthony tells stories about people who lived off seal blubber and penguin meat, how expeditions stretched their rations and made gruel, and how today, Antarctic kitchens are at the end of the world’s longest supply chain.

Terra Incognita, Sara Wheeler

It is a modern story about Antarctica. Wheeler spent seven months in Antarctica to find out why people go there. She meets scientists, tourists, and people who dream about the icy desert. All of them were enchanted by its beauty and how hard it was to get through. Every traveler can relate to the call to the wild. Wheeler, on the other hand, wonders if Antarctica is most vivid in the mind.

Antarctica Cruising Guide, Peter Carey & Craig Franklin

Our recommendation is Carey and Franklin’s detailed guide to the Great White, which includes color photos of wildlife, maps, history, and tips for visitors on how to minimize their impact while they are there. If you want to learn more, check out our guide to responsible travel to Antarctica.

Our Luxury Travel Specialists can help you plan your trip to Antarctica, so if you want to learn more about our cruises, call us or fill out our no-obligation enquiry form with the details of your dream trip.

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