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Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure [Kindle Edition]

Richard E. Byrd
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £18.99
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Book Description

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.

Product Description


"Better than most modern explanations, Byrd's book shows why men and women still cast themselves into danger in remote parts of the world." - The Los Angeles Times Book Review

About the Author

Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd (1888-1957) was an international hero best known for his accomplishments in pioneer aviation and polar exploration. Recipient of the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor for navigating the first flight over the North Pole in 1926, he also was honored for his 1927 trans-Atlantic flight. In subsequent expeditions to the South Pole he discovered new land and collected important scientific data. His books "Little America" and "Skyward, "both straightforward accounts of his polar expeditions, were followed by "Alone" in 1938. Byrd wrote "Alone" in response to requests from people all over the world wanting to know the true story behind his ordeal.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4467 KB
  • Print Length: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; Reprint edition (5 Mar. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004HD4A1Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #233,967 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book has the capacity to fundamentally alter the way one perceives nature and life. However, the most striking aspect of the book was Byrd's view of religion. While religious discussion does not consume a large portion of the text, Byrd's insights into the matter are unique and very interesting, especially to to the freethinking agnostic. Without catering to a particular denomination, his take on religion is a self-reliant, logical, hearty one that somehow manages to be spiritual and graceful at the same time. This is due, in large part, to the fact that so much of this view is based on his admiration and astonishment at the complexities of nature. A truly inspiring piece of work, it can crack chinks into the souls of even hardened skeptics and remind us all that life is a panorama of personal emotional relationships with others that make our own continued survival worthwhile.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One man's contest against himself. 9 Jan. 1997
By A Customer
This journal account of Byrd's months at the South Pole
reveal the most extreme circumstances that force a man
to discover the absolute limits of his will and inner
strength. With the heritage of the great sea explorers, and
precursor to the great space adventurers, Byrd forces
himself to unveil the depths of fear and determination when
he alone is responsible for his survival.
This book is one of the great adventure stories of the
twentieth century and its factual account rivals any piece
of fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This autobiographical account of one man's struggle to survive the long Antarctic night contains not only incisive descriptions of -70 degree weather and its horrific effects, but singular insights into the nature of man and his role in the universe - unique reflections that could have only been discovered during a debilitating 6 month stay underground near the South Pole. This is a truly awe-inspiring adventure, that should be read by all who suffer from fin de siecle ennui!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure is the story of famed explorer Richard Byrd's famous (or infamous) solitary sojourn at the bottom of the world - ably, if somewhat reluctantly, told by Byrd himself. It is not a tell of adventure so much as survival, as the peaceful and scientific adventure Byrd had anticipated all too quickly became a months-long fight for survival in the most inhospitable of places. Only a small shack with dangerously faulty ventilation stood between Byrd and the elements during the continually dark days of the winter of 1934. The temperature routinely hit 60 degrees below zero and rarely wandered upwards of twenty below, as Byrd - laid low by carbon monoxide poisoning - fought a daily battle to survive a situation that would have killed almost any other man.

Over the years, much has been made of Admiral Byrd's decision to singly man a small meteorological station far south of the main Antarctic base of Little America on the Ross Ice Shelf. Byrd first envisioned a three-man crew (he thought two men stuck together that long would end up killing each other during the long winter months without a third person present to break the monotony), but it seems pretty clear from this account that he yearned to do the job alone. Certainly, there is something to be said for the perfect peace and introspection he expected to find there, but it seems equally clear that Byrd, having already achieved great fame with past adventures at the North and South Poles, sought the attention and acclaim that would come with this mission. Whatever his reasons, however, it was unarguably a most daring and brave decision - as if the living conditions were not difficult enough, he knew that no help would be forthcoming if something went wrong.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One man's antarctic experience 3 Jun. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very interesting read about one man's experience of being alone in a hut during the Antarctic winter. He draws the reader in by writing about his day to day life trying to keep fed and warm while daily taking care of scientific measuring instruments and all that that involved.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alone 24 Dec. 2012
By Lizo
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Alone is a brilliant true story, full of almost unbearable suspense, one of the best arctic exploration books ever.and i have read a very large number!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alone 8 Aug. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
a rivetting read about richard byrd's solitary vigil through the antarctic night in the early 1930s. He nearly lost his mind and his life but somehow managed to write a diary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Physical and psychological extremity 30 Jan. 2012
By Dr. Rox
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In 1934 Admiral Byrd led his second expedition to Antarctica, but this, his account of it, isn't really a chronicle of action and derring-do on the ice. Rather, it's an intense, psychological memoir of human solitude. Byrd chose to spend the perpetual darkness of an Antarctic winter staffing a small hut on the barrier taking meteorological readings. During this time he was completely isolated except for unreliable radio contact with the main base. It's a fascinating account of how the human mind copes (or fails to) in complete isolation. Byrd's inevitable descent into depression is eloquently expressed and will, I'm sure, strike a chord with anyone who has struggled with mental health issues: "the dark side of a man's mind seems to be a sort of antenna tuned to catch gloomy thoughts from all directions. I found it so with mine." I don't think you'd need to be a polar fanatic (although I am one) to find meaning and interest in this fascinating account.

Of course, as with all autobiographical memoirs, you have to take the story presented with a degree of scepticism. Byrd is an attention-seeker and clearly dresses up his narrative in parts, underplaying his own failings. But reading the text against itself and revealing the chinks in the public face that Byrd presents is part of the pleasure and interest in a book like this. "Alone" also offers a fascinating study in the dynamics of leadership and unspoken exchange which still feels highly relevant today. We humans are complex creatures and Antarctica is the perfect blank but deadly canvas on which to paint large the workings of the mind, both socially and individually.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Alone
It may be the 'American' English, but I found reading it less enjoyable than others I have read. Nevertheless, it is an epic tale.
Published 19 months ago by Mr. Ian M. T. Sandison
5.0 out of 5 stars Alone. The classic polar adventure
This book was got as a present and the person it was got for as enjoyed reading survey bit of it.and that is why I have put 5star rating . Read more
Published 20 months ago by Elizabeth Foster
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
An overlooked but fascinating part to Antarctic history, unusual and well worth reading. Only a very special person could have done this work.
Published 20 months ago by hilaryway
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down!
This was compelling right from the word go and meant you just wanted to read more to discover how it ended. At times you wonder how one man can live through such an experience. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jenko
5.0 out of 5 stars Autobiographic adventuring
Byrd's own words describing his stint alone in a small antarctic base for a number of months is impossible to put down. Read more
Published on 23 Mar. 2010 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT the greastest.
Byrd was in an incredible location but there are many many more interesting books out there. When I read a book that I think is worth reading I will lend it to someone else. Read more
Published on 29 Dec. 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars A potent antidote for the complacent approach to living
I felt from the beginning that I was there experiencing Admiral Byrd's journey into the outer reaches of our external (and internal) frontiers. Read more
Published on 3 Sept. 1998
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