Empire Antarctica: Ice, Silence & Emperor Penguins Paperback – 7 Nov 2013
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"A finely written account of an extreme experience of the Antarctic, worthy to stand beside some of the great travel narratives in the English language." (RSL Ondaatje Prize Judges)
"Empire Antarctica is the embodiment of everything I admire in travel writing -- a great journey, intense isolation, wide reading, vivid writing, scientific research, and something in the nature of an old-fashioned ordeal. That Gavin Francis is a medical doctor, with an important role to play in the darkness and cold at the ends of the earth, is a bonus. I loved this book." (Paul Theroux)
"One of the best travel titles I have read in a long time. Thoughtful, lyrical, extremely well written, it’s a triumph." (Giles Foden Conde Nast Traveller)
"A beautiful, profound and highly readable account of a remarkable personal adventure. Francis’s pacing is deft, his prose vivid, his research worn lightly. This is probably as close as most of us will ever get to experiencing a modern polar winter. Empire Antarctica is surely destined to become a standard, not so much of travel as of staying very still." (Ed O'Loughlin Daily Telegraph)
"Francis’ best writing (and it is excellent)... is Robert Macfarlane on ice. This writing achieves the ‘quilted quality’ of silence, and through it we are brought to a new landscape of words." (Katherine MacInnes Literary Review)
* WINNER OF THE SCOTTISH BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2013 *
Empire Antarctica is the story of one man and his fascination with the world's loneliest continent, as well as the emperor penguins who weather the winter with him. This is travel writing at its very best.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
I've found myself mentioning bits and pieces of info I've picked up from the book in conversations with people for weeks now - I'm glad so much of it has stayed with me. The only bad thing about it, which isn't really the author's fault, is that I was so engrossed in the book I nearly missed getting off the train at my stop - jumped out in a rush with book and bicycle, but left my two paniers with work computer and much else besides, on the train and had to make a special trip to Inverness to pick them up from the station lost property... The first time ever I've done that, but Empire Antarctica made several 3 hour train journeys whizz by and that is praise indeed in my book!
A fantastic read I reckon, for anyone who is even remotely interested in Antarctica and adventurous explorations, or for those who doesn't even know they are yet.
Francis had already travelled to the Arctic and written about it in True North, but this was the first book of his I had tried. He sets out his mission to secure the much sought-after job, and explains his fascination both with the imagined "solidity, silence and enormity" of Antarctic (so different from his busy life in Edinburgh) and with emperor penguins, which he had learned showed no fear of humans (so you could walk up close to observe their ways). And soon he is off, departing from unglamorous Immingham on the Humber on the RSS Ernest Shackleton, an ice-breaker, heading south. References to the likes of Shackleton and Scott are woven in throughout... the book is as much a history of Antarctic adventure as a travelogue.
The freshness of the writing comes from the sense of cutting loose from the iPad world, and of going back to basics and trying to understand an alien place (rather like Thesiger in the Arabian deserts). Francis points out early on that cartographers refer to blank spaces on maps as "sleeping beauties" - which struck me as being a lovely phrase. The book is good on such details.
He describes Halley and its inhabitants (whose mental health suffers due to the isolation of the station) and is called upon to provide fillings for rotten teeth - he admits worrying what would happen if he were to fall seriously ill, as no-one else could treat him. And he is soon delighting in the "immensity of nothing" of his surroundings, seeing many a penguin and flying in a Twin Otter as far as 81 degrees south on one scientific expedition.Read more ›
I imagine Gavin must be pretty psychologically tough, but I always felt in the company of a man I woud love to sit and have a beer with. Take a journey to Antarctica, meet a bunch of extraordinary creatures - the birds, not his colleagues - and be swept away by the language. And, as I prepared to approach my first Christmas on my own, I got a deep and comforting insight in how there is a difference between being lonely and alone. Chapeaux!
The mysterious allure of Antarctica is perfectly captured and is made accessible for all. Anyone interested in all aspects of Antarctica will really enjoy this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was drawn to my attention by an article in Herald Scotland. It was so enjoyable and gives a real insight into the experience of being there. Read morePublished 2 months ago by I. Glover
The story of one man's dream of spending a year in Antarctica, achieved! An excellent account of life in this remote, hostile environment. Read morePublished 6 months ago by M. Freer
Just a stunning elegant account of a year in the Antarctic. Francis writes with both confidence and humility and engages the reader effortlessly. Fabulous.Published 7 months ago by Niamh Maher
Still reading this book but enjoying it. An easy read, especially if you like penguins!Published 11 months ago by margo
how the author is able to conjure up such descriptions is amazing.
Not much happens in the darkness of an antarctic winter but the vivid pictures he... Read more
Beautifully written and vastly knowledgeable. A wonderful book that evokes the strange Antarctic wilderness, the small community of scientists stranded on the icy base in the... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Will
Really interesting about life, personalities and conditions in that hostile and distant land. Will definitely read other books by Gavin Franis.Published 14 months ago by Mrs Heather Dryden
This was written by a young GP who spoke at last year's RCGP conference. If like me you are fascinated by remote places but rather too soft to go and experiment them yourself... Read morePublished 16 months ago by LilKajsa