Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I did not want the book to end
"Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent" is an extraordinary book written by an extraordinary woman. Gabrielle Walker weaves all the significant research about the threads of life on Antarctica's vast ice sheets into a profound tapestry of what it's like to be there.
Walker says because Antarctica is the oldest landscape in the world it's still...
Published 21 months ago by Niki Collins-queen, Author

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The truth revealed
This is the best book I have read that explains the science that is currently being undertaken in Antarctica together with the implications that are happening right now. It is to be hoped that the political leaders will it take on board and agree a survival strategy.
Published 12 months ago by mr Peter Herbert


Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I did not want the book to end, 18 Dec 2012
By 
Niki Collins-queen, Author "author" (Forsyth, Georgia USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of the World's Most Mysterious Continent (Hardcover)
"Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent" is an extraordinary book written by an extraordinary woman. Gabrielle Walker weaves all the significant research about the threads of life on Antarctica's vast ice sheets into a profound tapestry of what it's like to be there.
Walker says because Antarctica is the oldest landscape in the world it's still telling its story to anyone who stays long enough to hear. Although Antarctica is bigger than the continental US and has forty-nine temporary bases it officially belongs to nobody. An international treaty was signed by forty-nine countries declaring the entire place to 'peace and science' in the early 60s.
Walker reports the history and cutting-edge science experiments on the giant West and larger East Antarctic Ice Sheets, the vulnerable Western Amundsen Coast, the rapidly warming Antarctic Peninsula, the massive barrier-like Ross and Ronne Ice Shelves and the South Pole.
It's fascinating to learn how the South Pole's Remote Earth Science and Seismological Observatory looks inwards to the Earth's core to measure earthquakes and construct an image of the Earth's mantle - it has a liquid outer core made of pure iron and a hot hard solid sphere of iron in the center. Because the observatory picks up the seismic waves of nuclear bombs they can make sure nobody cheats on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
At the same time giant telescopes high on the summits of the high plateau of the eastern ice sheets probe the cold, dry sky to see parts of the Universe that other telescopes can't reach.
Walker says the Earth's history, buried as bubbles of ancient air in ice core samples in Antarctica tell us beyond any doubt that our burning of oil, coal and gas has significantly changed our atmosphere. Twelve thousand foot ice core samples from the Russian Vostok Station with four full ice age records showed a tight correlation between the Earth's temperature, greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide. The levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today are higher than they have been for at least 800,000 years. The temperature records from many stations confirm the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed by five degrees Fahrenheit over the previous fifty years, which is three times the global average.
The Larson B Ice shelf shattered in 2002 and satellite images show ice retreating in the Amundson Sea sector. Researchers found this has not happened for a least 10,000 years.
Two stations also found there are hundreds of interconnected lakes underlying the Antarctic ice. Since the lakes frequently fill and empty scientists fear the rushing water could destabilize large parts of the ice sheet.
On a positive note when Antarctica researchers discovered a hole in the ozone layer in the mid 80s there was international cooperation to ban the offending chemicals and the hole recovered. Many meteorites (including Lunar and Martian) and dinosaur remains are being found and studied.
Walker says if we humans look honestly into the Antarctica's ice mirror we'll see how small we are and perhaps learn humility which is the first step towards wisdom.
My husband and I found Walker's descriptions of the places, people, wildlife and research so captivating we could not put her book down.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 11 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of the World's Most Mysterious Continent (Hardcover)
This is one of the best, most interesting books I have ever read. It has inspired my love for the continent.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars The truth revealed, 16 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the best book I have read that explains the science that is currently being undertaken in Antarctica together with the implications that are happening right now. It is to be hoped that the political leaders will it take on board and agree a survival strategy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars ANTARTICA, 11 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
REALLY ENJOYED THIS BOOK VERY INTERESTING AND SHOWS THE CONTINENT IN A WHOLE NEW LIGHT WOULD RECOMMEND - WOULD PURCHASE MORE OF THIS WRITER
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bang up to date, well worth a read, 5 July 2012
This review is from: Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of the World's Most Mysterious Continent (Hardcover)
Walker is one of the better science writers out there at the moment. She has a passion for the polar regions, and writes about Antarctica with clarity and measured prose. She clearly explains how the effect of climate change is starting to have a noticeable effect at the South Pole.
She describes the characters that inhabit the stations, who vary from the reclusive scientist to the people normally on the fringes of society.
Bang up to date, well worth a read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Way, way "down under"..., 5 Dec 2012
By 
John P. Jones III (Albuquerque, NM, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of the World's Most Mysterious Continent (Hardcover)
My knowledge on matters related to Antarctica has been, admittedly, episodic and fragmented. Like those snowfalls that accumulate, and eventually hardened into glaciers, that knowledge has been compiled over a few years (though not as many as it takes to make a glacier!) Most memorable was the movie March of the Penguins - Luc Jacquet [DVD] [2005], but there were also the books that told of the rivalry and race to the South Pole at the beginning 20th Century, as well as Shackleton's epic and heroic voyage to the island of South Georgia, and his hike across it. And there were those newspaper reports about a hole in the ozone layer. Unquestionably though, I lacked a more comprehensive view of the "last frontier" of continents, and when I saw this Vine offering, I had to say "yes, please," and was not disappointed.

Gabrielle Walker not only tied all those scattered episodes together, she provided many more, in her well-written, knowledgeable overview of the continent. Antarctica is purportedly dedicated to "science." Walker essentially uses the word "purportedly" too, recognizing that "geopolitical concerns," and more, are always lurking in the background. She has a PhD in Chemistry, and has taught at Cambridge and Princeton. Thus, she has the background to understand the science, and the rarer ability to explain it to the non-initiated. No doubt it is a "trade secret," but she never thoroughly explains how she was able to travel to as many bases in Antarctica as she did. Almost certainly, no one else has seen as much of the continent, and obtained explanations of the scientific work being performed, from "primary sources."

The largest base is at McMurdo, run by the Americans, still along semi-military lines. It is the hub, and the rescue center. There is another major base on the South Pole itself, named after the two leaders who led the expeditions there in 1912-13, Amundsen and Scott. The French run a base on the coast at Dumont d'Urville (where `The March of the Penguins" was filmed). And they have a joint venture with the Italians, half way inland, fittingly called "Concordia." The Russians have built an onion-domed church at Bellingshausen, an island at the tip of the Peninsula, and the Argentinians have a base at the tip of the Peninsula, at Esperanza, where the first child was born on the continent, in 1977. She visited them all, as well as the areas where there are no bases, save for a few tents. Most fascinating in the latter category was a region she called "Mars on Earth," east of McMurdo, which is the most stable and unchanged topography on earth.

The scientific work looks both "in" and "out." At Concordia, Walker explains the technique used to obtain ice cores which provide a historic record, via entrapped air samples, of the chemical composition of the earth's atmosphere. At the South Pole there is an astronomical observatory that examines the Cosmic Microwave Background and also has a Muon and Neutrino particle detector. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, in the region of Antarctic that is still the least accessible, called Marie Byrd Land, could become known in every household. Walker presents the information in a very temperate manner, and although I don't consider myself a global warming "alarmist," I found her exposition "alarming." The ice sheet sits on land below sea level, and if the warmer ocean water was able to flow under the ice sheet, undermining its stability, and causing major portions to enter the ocean, the global water level could rise rather dramatically, and not the few inches over the next century, which I assumed was the normal prediction.

Throughout the book Walker weaves the historical antecedents; there are good accounts of the "holy trinity" of early explorers from the "heroic age": Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton. Captain Byrd's near death from carbon monoxide poisoning, from a faulty stove, when he tried to winter, solo, is also related. And Walker provides sketches of her encounters with the numerous scientists and support workers who are drawn to this "last frontier." She relates how women became increasingly accepted into what was once a "men only" territory. And in terms of cultural stereotypes, and the underlying reality, the French, bless `em, seem to be the most sensual, taking the effort to provide gourmet feasts where "freeze-dried" food would be the norm among many other nationalities.

A wonderful, knowledgeable account of the many facets, past, present, along with future scenarios, which are Antarctica. 5-stars, plus.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 6 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of the World's Most Mysterious Continent (Hardcover)
Fantastic book, couldn't put it down. Really opened up what it's like to visit the continent. Will be buying this authors other books.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars antartica an intimate portrait of the worlds most mysterious continent, 27 May 2012
By 
Mrs Lisa Cleaver (ilford, essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of the World's Most Mysterious Continent (Hardcover)
I was totally enthralled by this book, I actually got it from the library and have since bought it, a first for me!
It has taken me on to read about Scott, Shackleton et al. Absolutely Brilliant!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 20 May 2012
This review is from: Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of the World's Most Mysterious Continent (Hardcover)
Few people have the opportunity to visit Antarctica: this book is a great way to get to know about the continent without freezing your toes off! The book is an engaging profile of the continent, from the anecdotal encounters on a visit through to the geological timescale of processes that shaped, and continue to shape it. The book is an enjoyable read yet describes important scientific information, and illustrates both the enormity if the ice mass and its vulnerability as the climate warms.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of the World's Most Mysterious Continent
Used & New from: 1.18
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews