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Cold: Extreme Adventures at the Lowest Temperatures on Earth [Paperback]

Sir Ranulph Fiennes
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Nov 2013
Few humans have evolved who can survive and thrive in the bitter cold. Below a certain temperature, death is inevitable. This book is about this aspect of our environment and about Sir Ranulph Fiennes' own life experiencing the extreme cold, from his adventuring apprenticeship 40 years ago on the Greenland Ice Cap to masterminding over the past 5 years the crossing of the Antarctic during winter; the 'coldest journey on Earth', where temperatures will regularly plummet to minus 92 * C. Cold has altered history on many great occasions. Hannibal crossed the high Alps under conditions of extreme cold; soldiers of the mighty armies of Hitler and Napoleon died in their thousands on the frozen Russian steppes from frostbite gangrene. In the past 150 years men and women have also seen the cold as a natural challenge as adventurers and explorers from all over the world have attempted to conquer the coldest regions of the globe. Today, parts of the world subject to extreme cold are the focus of intense geopolitical pressure, as President Putin claims Arctic coastal waters to be Russian, in readiness for the predicted melting of sea-ice, sending submarines to plant Russian flags on the seabed as a warning to would-be non-Russian mineral prospectors, and similar claims are made on the Antarctic. And yet a few degrees of climate change in Antarctica could easily trigger the detachment of huge ice sheets which would slide into the Southern Ocean. As sea levels rise some of the biggest coastal cities in the world would be submerged - a catastrophe that would render insignificant the most devastating of past tsunamis. Sir Ranulph Fiennes has spent a lifetime working in conditions of extreme cold - his frostbitten fingers are a testament to the horrors that man can experience in such temperatures, but he also knows that the life he has led owes a great deal to the cold. Both scientifically rigorous, historically questioning and intensely personal, this book is both a warning of the dangers we face with our relationship to the cold and celebration of a life lived in some of the extremist temperatures known to man.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (7 Nov 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1471127834
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471127830
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.4 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,356,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Fiennes' new book provides unsparing accounts of his expedition hardships, including months drifting on a disintegrating, polar-bear-haunted Arctic ice floe, and seeking shelter from 200mph winds while pitching his tent in the icefields of Antarctica... A stirring read' Book of the Month, Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine

'How did you lose several fingers? A mystery. I know what I can and can't do at minus 30 and minus 40. It was a normal icy day. I was not in a danger zone. If you try peeling a banana with mitts on, you can't. Therefore you take them off. I took 'em off and saw my hand had gone white. The same hand had done a winter ascent of the Eiger. I knew what it had got itself into. I had to get back to safety, which meant putting the hand in my crotch, the only warm place. I was in a whiteout. An Irishman came back very kindly to help - endangering himself' Kate Kellaway

'One of the world s greatest living explorers has described in a new book how his wife s thoughtfulness enabled him to survive a heart attack on Everest. The brush with death is one of several narrow escapes recounted in Cold' Sian Griffiths, Sunday Times

'Perhaps when you are as driven as he is you can never be fulfilled but Fiennes, who once used a fretsaw to cut off his frost-bitten finger tips, is probably assured of legend status. Not just because of the £14m he s raised for charity, his contribution to science and his catalogue of physical achievements, but that he personifies, as this book testifies, the indomitability of the human spirit and the belief that anything is possible' Flemmich Webb, Independent

'Tracing the history of polar exploration, [Fiennes] finds men deranged by isolation; ruthless captains abandoning unwanted crew in the uninhabitable Arctic; scurvy merrily rotting the gums of every man it touches. He relates, in juicy detail, stories of cannibalism and the public outcry they provoked at home' Stefanie Marsh, The Times

'This celebration of the most brutally cold places on Earth covers man s early discoveries through to the first crossing of the Antarctic during winter.' --Evening Standard --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Ranulph Fiennes was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE). One of Britain's most infamous explorers, he has raised over 14million for charity and was named Best Sportsman in the 2007 ITV Great Briton Awards. In 2009 he became the oldest Briton to reach the summit of Everest.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book covering Ranulph Fiennes remarkable exploits in the Arctic, Antarctic, in climbing Everest and the North Face of the Eiger. His achievements as an explorer are amazing, especially given that he was not a young man when he reached the summit of Everest at his third attempt, and that he climbed the North Face partly in the attempt to rid himself of his vertigo.

The stories of his personal experiences of extreme cold, particularly during his polar journeys, are interspersed with accounts the triumps and tribulations of other explorers including Scott, Amundsen and Shackleton, amongst many others. All this makes for great reading - however if you have read the author's autobiography you will already know many of the tales he has to tell and this book adds little that is new to that rather more engaging and personal book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 7 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bought recently as i was looking for an inspirational read and this is certainly ot. I would also recommend googling the places mentioned to get more of an idea of the vastness and difficulty of the terrain Ran find himself in. Great book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cold 5 Jan 2014
By S. JIM
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am currently reading this book and it is fascinating. It gives an excellent picture of life in a number of ice and snow conditions.. It makes one wonder why on earth he and his wife did it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 3 July 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
very good
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5.0 out of 5 stars Constant adventure 30 May 2014
By RMCT
Format:Hardcover
Having been evacuated from Antarctica, suffering from frostbite in his hand caused when trying to adjust the bindings on his skis, clearly left Ranulph Fiennes at a loose end. With nothing planned, what better than to turn out another book. Yes, this probably is a gratuitous opportunity to write about himself and his past expeditions. Who cares - Ran has had more feats of endurance than anyone else and even at his advancing years shows no signs of letting up. The theme is 'cold' and this aligns well with the majority of his expeditions. This book reads really well and is packed full of fascinating information. Ran clearly knows his field and this includes related history, biology and science. I thoroughly recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read 6 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Fantastic read and well worth the money
A must for all readers of adventures
This book is like the who's who of exploration
So many facts about the Arctic and Antarctic explorers
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Finnes 31 Mar 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bit of a collection of times gone by, but a very good collection & the man deserves to earn from such information.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Different book 21 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Something different. Interesting little facts re the regions and insight into the hardships and challenges of climbers. Amazing true grit story.
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