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End of the Earth: Voyaging to Antarctica [Paperback]

Peter Matthiessen
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 13.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

14 Jan 2005
Now in a paperback edition, America's greatest literary naturalist takes readers on the ultimate wildlife safari: a true back-of-beyond voyage to the world's most unforgiving land, the islands off Antarctica's northern ice shelf, and to that second most remote place on earth, South Georgia Island, "the last outpost in a great emptiness of ocean." Matthiessen has once again lit upon a subject profoundly fitted to his creative genius. He is simply the ultimate lyricist of loss, a writer brilliantly attentive to the way vanishings are braided into even the most exquisite moments of our lives. He agonizes over what is passing away, but does so in a manner that increases our appreciation of what remains. In "End of the Earth," Matthiessen joins the crew of the Akademik - a 384-foot research vessel bound for wild and storied South Georgia Island and Antarctica. Along the way we are treated to a patented Matthiessen brew: lyricism and emotion applied to the sharp-eyed evaluations of a seasoned naturalist. Brilliant and instructive observations of the creatures inhabiting this far-flung region are sprinkled with eloquent disquisition on the history of the region (Shackleton, Captain Cook,

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End of the Earth: Voyaging to Antarctica + The Snow Leopard + Shadow Country
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Books; New edition edition (14 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0792268369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792268369
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.5 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 425,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars End of the Earth 15 Jan 2010
Peter Matthiessen on his usual excellent form, poetic and erudite, informative and evocative. If you have the slightest interest in the Antarctic, its discovery, exploration and present ecological importance, read this book. I you do not care much for seabirds, you will after reading this book.
My only criticism is that the maps are inadequate: I had to use Google Earth to locate many of the places visited by the author.
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful descriptions, but not much else 17 Mar 2005
By Elizabeth Thyssen - Published on Amazon.com
This rambling memoir details two trips that the author made to Antarctica with Victor Emmanuel Nature Tours, which specializes in birding trips. Peter Matthiessen beautifully describes several scenes from the Antarctic, which made me long to visit this stark landscape filled with life.

However, the book has no real direction. It reads like a journal, albeit a well-written one with a greater-than-average literacy quotient. The author makes little attempt to introduce any of his fellow-travelers or to show a personal journey of the mind to mirror the Antarctic voyages. Eventually, it just stops, rather than ends. He digresses from accounts of his voyage to describe the adventures of early polar explorers, or to comment on issues such as global warming and whaling. Although these asides are interesting and well-reasoned, there are better sources for each topic.

Birders and armchair travelers may enjoy the descriptions of his wildlife encounters, however.
5.0 out of 5 stars Antarctica: "You Are There" 11 July 2011
By Dennis Kalma - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The book is a series of short vignettes focused on distinct incidents or places encountered in his two visits to the Antarctic but they are tied together to create a single understanding of the region: the ten thousand and the one. As always, Matthiessen is a supurb stylist.
A great read if you want to know what it might be like to actually take such a trip.
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent annotated journal of Antarctic travel 12 Oct 2010
By JDiver - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I am undoubtedly biased, because I was on the Akademik Ioffe trip to South Georgia and Antarctica with Victor Emanuel, Peter Matthiessen, Bob and Birgit Bateman, et al. It was a splendid, truly brilliant trip, and I really like this book because it documents the highlights of the trip and adds some ruminations and connections to other world issues with vital and descriptive language that is evocative to me. Some descriptions are truly effulgent and capture the essence of what we saw, from tiny, coruscating bubbles of air being released by ancient ice making effervescent, crystalline sounds we could listen to in the great Antarctic silence to the smell of krill in whale breath as yet another whale surfaced and exhaled next to our fragile Zodiacs.

Indeed, this is a journal - I commend it to those with an interest in Antarctic travel and global conservation. For you, I would rate it four stars; for me, six if such were possible.
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous 4 Sep 2009
By D. Reece Williams - Published on Amazon.com
I am a Matthiessen fan, of his fiction and of his reporting about nature. This book is excellent in both categories; some of the prose describing his ship sailing in the lonesome, gray south lattitudes with a solitary bird circling, hundreds of miles from land, relating these and other images to our own uncertain destiny, compels re-reading and reflection. The descriptions of the wildlife he encounters, the penguins especially, are supremely interesting.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Passed on 8 April 2014
By Michael A. Strem - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed everything Mr Matthiessen had written and look forward to his latest & 2nd to last endeavor (I think). What joy in life & now he can be with us always in spirit. A great spirit.
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