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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mawson's Will
Without being fully aware of the history of the polar expeditions or polar travel in general, I began this book expecting a great adventure story and nothing more. This book more than delivered in that respect. Not only is it immensely easy to read, but I found it difficult to put down and became completely engrossed in the story that unfolded. I got choked up a great...
Published on 8 Dec 2007 by Spider Monkey

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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bibiliography or expedition description
If you were expecting or looking for a description of the 1913 Australian Antarctic Expedition, you won't find find it in this book. Nor is it a biography of Mawson. There's little personal background, not a single map, very little in the way of references or information. I'm still not even sure if the degrees of temperature that are described are Fahrenheit or...
Published on 25 Mar 2006 by drifter


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mawson's Will, 8 Dec 2007
By 
Spider Monkey (UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written (Paperback)
Without being fully aware of the history of the polar expeditions or polar travel in general, I began this book expecting a great adventure story and nothing more. This book more than delivered in that respect. Not only is it immensely easy to read, but I found it difficult to put down and became completely engrossed in the story that unfolded. I got choked up a great deal towards the end and felt anxious and exhausted along with the people in the book. For the two days that it took to read, I lived the fears and exhaustion along with the author and finished the book feeling wrung out, yet strangely exhilarated. I can not imagine what it must be like to travel in such a hostile environment, but this book goes some way to helping you picture what it may of been like. It also has some great old photography. If you like survival stories or are interested in the polar expeditions you must add this book to your library, it is a superb read that will keep you gripped throughout. Highly recommended.

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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jaw dropping survival story., 9 Dec 2001
By 
P. Robson (Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written (Paperback)
Douglas Mawson is someone who doesn't get the credit he deserves ; especially in comparison to Robert Scott. A member of the 1907 Nimrod expedition, he organised his own trip to the land south of Australia in 1913, and this excellent book is the tale of that trip.
Mawson had to contend not only with the death in a crevasse of his companion Ninnis, but had to witness the slow descent into madness and death of his other companion, Mertz, then made his way hundreds of miles back to his base at Cape Dennison, surviving on left over scraps and eating his dogs.
Sometimes it is easier to die like Scott than to continue, (Cherry Garrard makes a similar point in "The Worst Journey in the World"), graphically illustrated when Mawson falls into a crevasse, and somehow pulled himself out. But survive he did,and lived to a ripe old age.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bickel's Gift, 22 Oct 2007
This review is from: Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written (Paperback)
Rarely has fiction served the truth so well. Rarely has the truth served fiction so well.

Mawson's own account of his ordeal, in "The Home of The Blizzard", seems relatively matter of fact. We may not have marvelled at Mawson's accomplishment in surviving if we relied only on his way of telling it. Although a good writer, his specialities were geography and exploration.

Bickel's presentation here in "Mawson's Will" makes Mawson's accomplishment more touching than Mawson's own presentation. But it took an extraordinary writing accomplishment by Bickel to convey Mawson's accomplishment. Poetic license? To fail to understand how much faithful art it took to go from Mawson's diaries and book to Bickel's account would be to not appreciate how much effort and skill it took for Bickel to bring Mawson's tale so fully alive. If Bickel hadn't taken poetic license, this tale may have been of more interest to the most purist historian but it would have been of far less human interest. Sensitive to our lack of understanding of the Antartic experience, Bickel put us there in a way we never could have gotten from Mawson's own account. The last one hundred pages of "Mawson's Will" are as riveting as anything I've read in years.

Bickel's faithfulness to Mawson has made this a special work of art. Because of Bickel, we can be amazed at how Mawson survived and understand something profound about the human will.

P.S. I wake up the next day to find the story is still strong on my mind. Mawson returned to Australia to find his beloved waiting, married her, in time actually returned to the Antartic for exploration, and lived til 73. While we may never face as extreme a challenge as he did, there seems lessons here in the value of perserverence, in the benefits of careful self-management, and in the role of loved ones in making life worth living. This is an unusual book and Mawson and Bickel have made a special contribution far beyond whether land was claimed through exploration.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible exhausting story - look for maps online, 9 Jan 2010
By 
Mark Loughridge (Letterkenny, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written (Paperback)
An incredible story of survival in unimaginable conditions - this book cost me sleep, for I couldnt put it down. You cant go to sleep in a nice warm bed with a guy hanging in an ice crevasse on a gracier!

This is the second book on arctic/antarctic exploration I've read. Both books have left me breathless. The first was The Ice Master, which, while an incredible story, isnt as well written as Mawson's will.

When the book arrived I was surprised that it was only 250 pages, but I soon found that that was part of the quality of this book - the author keeps the story moving along. To be honest I dont think I could have coped if it was twice as long!

The story and the writing are superb, but one criticism I have of the book is that there are no maps, so I hunted around online and found a superbly detailed map of the 600 mile trek, with each day's progress marked, as well as the significant locations. I found myself referring to it constantly, and marveling all the more.

So if you purchase the book, make sure you look for the map - there are at least two, one that shows the sea voyage, the other which shows the land trek. If you go to one of the big search engines and type in "map mawson antarctic" and select image search, and large images, you should see it easily enough. Print it off and keep it handy.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate survival story, 17 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written (Paperback)
Douglas Mawson chose not to join the race for the South Pole with the ill-fated Scott. Instead of ego aggrandisement, Mawson chose science and set out on a smaller geologic expedition of another area of the frozen South. An experienced polar explorer, Mawson began with a party of two others, but eventually the group of three was reduced to the indefatigible Mawson alone. Bickel's rendition of Mawson's solitary struggle is based on Mawson's own journals of a story that deserves a place ahead of all the accounts of Scott and Shakleton. Bickel captures well the character of the man and, even more, the psychological terrors to which Mawson refused to succumb as he battled the physical obstacles. More than twenty years after this reviewer's first reading, Mawson's Will stands as a premier account of an individual's determination to survive.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And then there was one, 31 Dec 2007
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This review is from: Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written (Paperback)
What is just as unbelievable as this truly remarkable story itself is that Mawson has never had the same recognition as his contemporaries, Scott and Shackleton.

The story is even more remarkable, not just because of the terrible deaths of his comrades or the near starvation or physical pain and mental exhaustion, but that Mawson is further tormented by his total isolation in a vastness unimaginable.

A grim tale with emotion, the reader will find Bickel's account vivid and moving.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story of a man's will to survive, 13 July 2001
This review is from: Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written (Paperback)
Mawson led a band of resourceful explorers to chart vast expanses of Antarctica. They fought to ensure they were not swallowed by the incredible unexplored and dangerous void that they entered. This story, wonderfully told by Lennard Bickel, tells of their, particularly Mawson's, quest for survival. A damn fine read, but not for the squeemish.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bibiliography or expedition description, 25 Mar 2006
This review is from: Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written (Paperback)
If you were expecting or looking for a description of the 1913 Australian Antarctic Expedition, you won't find find it in this book. Nor is it a biography of Mawson. There's little personal background, not a single map, very little in the way of references or information. I'm still not even sure if the degrees of temperature that are described are Fahrenheit or Centigrade; call me pedantic, but it makes a difference! It's nowhere near the quality of Roland Huntford's 'Shackleton', for example, which was the inspiration for wanting to know more about Mawson.
Once I'd realised that it wasn't the book I was hoping for, I found it an interesting attempt to look into Mawson's head, and at what goes on psychologically during a long expedition, and the effects of physical collapse on an exhausted person. But it's still a little too much conjecture and assumption for my liking. Mawson's own 'Home of the Blizzard' might give a more detailed picture of what happened.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Banana, 30 Nov 2002
By 
Mr. N. Richardson "nwjr" (Inverness, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written (Paperback)
This book doesnt really capture the imagination until a good way through it, and not until the end do you fully realise its title. This is more than an interesting tale, its an essential in the role-call of inspirtional acts of determination and endurance. The details of husky-eating, madness, ingenuity and mind blowing doggedness all make this a fine book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mawson's Will review, 19 Dec 2006
This review is from: Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written (Paperback)
As a fan of real life tales of adventure, I loved this book. I found it gripping, the detail, the anguish, the physical and mental hardship, the historical detail - awesome read.

This is probably less of a good read for someone who isn't into the outdoors and so has no empathy with the situation.
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Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written
Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written by Lennard Bickel (Paperback - 31 Mar 2000)
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