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Antarctica: A Biography [Hardcover]

David Day
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
Price: 15.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (24 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199670552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199670550
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.4 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 246,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a pretty substantial book that starts in the 1770s and ends in 2012.

The 21 chapters are dated: 1770s, 1780-1820, 1821-1838, 1839-1843, 1843-1895, 1895-1906, 1907-1912, 1912-1918, 1919-1926, 1926-1928, 1929-1930, 1931-1933, 1934-1936, 1937-1938, 1939-1941, 1941-1945, 1945-1947, 1948-1951, 1952-1956, 1957-1960, 1961-2012.

I was slightly surprised that the last chapter covered 50 years when some of the other chapters only cover 2 years and if this is a true biography then I think recent happenings should have more coverage even if the historian might not want to come to definite conclusions about them.

David Day writes well and this is a handsome book.

I was appalled by the slaughter of the wildlife described in the earliest chapters - sickening, thoughtless and typical. It was also interesting to see for how long the UK and Argentina have been discussing the Falkland Islands.

Does this book have an Australian bent - I hope so, it is good to get other peoples perspective. Definitely worth a read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Antarctica a Biography 23 Jun 2013
By R. Gardner VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a mega book, absolutely filled with information by someone who knows his stuff. At over 500 hundred pages and a small section of photographs you will be amazed by the activities that we mortal men and women get up to when exploring the unknown sections of our planet.
The books is in sections by time scale starting off in the 1770s thru to 2012, It's quite unusual for an author to have as much detail as this one produces, especially from a good long time ago. We start of with Captain Cook and his voyages which are fairly well known, though we will not have the detail that is now presented to us. As I said at the beginning of review, I was and still am astounded by the detail. The one thing that really comes over is that right from the beginning there are several main factors governing exploration, One to get more skins and oil from the animals in the sea and land and also to claim the territory for their own country allowing that country to have the rights to what is there, and for some the glory of finding a new land and the riches that go with that. I will add that as a race we humans seem to destroy what we find before we have the sense to try and conserve what is there. Political shenanigans are to the fore in the later voyages to Antarctica.
I would add that if anyone enjoys history, Politics, bravery, stupidity, Antarctica and has an interest in exploration and how we got to where we are at the present day you will enjoy this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow. What a read... 29 Jun 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an awe inspiring book about an incredible area of the planet. This book charts the history of the region from its discovery in the early 19th century to the present day.

It seems incredible that Antarctica wasn't actually reported as sighted until the early part of the 19th century. As Day states, Capt. Cook had postulated that there was a land mass there south of Australia and actually circumnavigated it without actually seeing it - so near and yet so far! Day then concentrates on the intrepid explorers who through numerous expeditions over the next 100+ years began to chart this vast area. Who actually sighted Antarctica first remains a bone of contention even today and three explorers have laid claim to that honour; A Russian, a Brit and an American. And whilst this isn't necessarily significant for the individual's concerned, it does have potential ramifications as territorial claims are made to various bits of this hugely significant continent. And for 110 years until the Antarctic Treaty came into effect in 1959 the territory was an area of conflict as seven nations fought over it almost coming to blows on several occasions. A lot of the narrative talks about the exploration that went on during this time but there are bits of the story that shows the diverse tactics that countries were prepared to go to legitimise their claims over the land; the so-called `Stamp Diplomacy' being one - setting up post-offices and issuing stamps, dropping little flags from aeroplanes being another and the mapping of the continent by the big three (UK, USSR & USA) as each sought to legitimise their claim to the region.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Dense Political Biography 12 Jun 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a Biography, written in a very Biographical style. So it starts with the discovery (equivalent to the birth and a bit of the family background). Then there is an in depth portrayal of events until the present. More time and words are spent on the years where most "action" was happening.

My first criticism, this book desperately needed maps. In my edition there were just two, one a map of the world with Antartica missing altogether. The other a map of Antartica at some stage in its discovery, with the rough shape outlined, but when there was still obviously some doubt about all its features. Neither of these helped me make sense of the early chapters which endlessly mentioned new Islands or areas of coastline. For quite a large chunk of the book I quite simply had no idea where places mentioned were. For example: for most of the book I was not sure how the Falkland Islands related to the Falkland Island territories.

My second criticism is that this book was obviously written from one specific view point, and ignored the fact that readers might well be interested in others. That view point was that the key aspect about Antartica was determining who had territorial rights. So all Scientific enquiry is written off as just a "cover" for the territorial and exploration inroads into the continent. As a result there is a lot of detail of exactly how flags were placed on the continent (from manned landings and elaborate ceremonies to dropped from an airplane, to dropped from an airplane is a specially weighted container so that it would land up right).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Immense
This book is pretty daunting - it's massive. I guess that goes some way to justify its pretty big RRP. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kris
4.0 out of 5 stars 500 pages of Antartica
Antartica feels a world a way for most of us - seen in documentaries and that's about all. This book does a really good job of enlightening those of us who have only skirted the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Pompom
5.0 out of 5 stars An Immense and Mighty Read
It was prudent planning on my behalf to take a two-week holiday from work recently to sit and make inroads into a reading list that was getting longer by the day. Read more
Published 8 months ago by G. J. Oxley
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Book
Avery interesting read which deals with a period of history not recorded before. I recommend it to other readers of the Kindle.
Published 8 months ago by Alan Rapsey
4.0 out of 5 stars Huge history of Antarctica
First let me just say that this is a huge book - much bigger than I had expected it to be when I clicked the button to order it! Read more
Published 9 months ago by pacem et amorem
4.0 out of 5 stars an interesting history
This hefty tome (614 pages including index) contains information about Antarctica from 1770 through to 2012. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Su
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb, fascinating book
This was a far weightier tome than I had expected; a huge book! So far (and I have not finished it yet), I have been absolutely fascinated. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Beansmummy
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
This lengthy though highly readable account is an impressively researched book. Telling the often surprising and widely ignored history of Antarctica, it weaves a quite... Read more
Published 9 months ago by downkiddie
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable but self limiting perspective
The acid test for me is usually readability - a good writer can illuminate the most inaccessible subject whereas a poor communicator can make the exciting dull. Read more
Published 9 months ago by S. Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling, but long
This book was immensely enthralling and really brought Antarctica to life. The descriptions were beautiful and thoughtful, with a real sense of history. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Scott A. Mckenzie
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