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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
14


on 21 December 2011
This is a great book and I believe the author tells the story well - gripping, moving and inspirational. Sir Douglas Mawson is a man to be admired and his story is truly incredible - serving as a testament to human endurance and the capacity for achieving a goal through sheer will power and a refusal to never give up. The book is based on true events and of the Mawson books out there, this is the one I would recommend.

The books to follow this (as once you have read this you will want to read more)are:

Home of the Blizzard - Mawson's biography(reads quite dry compared to Bickel's book but once you getused to the style it is a fascinating read and the adventure described in Bickel's book is if you excuse the cliche just the tip of the iceberg and includes Mawson's having to spend a year in Antarctica with a colleague who is literally going insane)

Racing with Death: Douglas Mawson - Antarctic Explorer by Beau Riffenburgh - similar to Bickel's book but with added extras and a slightly different focus which again shows that there is more to the man and more to the story than in Bickel's book. Whereas Bickel concentrates on the survival story specifically, Beau Riffenburgh's book highlights the recovery period and later life of the explorer and is well worth reading.
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on 18 October 2015
Possibly one of the greatest stories of polar survival, along with Shackleton and his men's Endurance expedition. It seems surprising that Sir Douglas Mawson is relatively unheard of. An ambitious programme of exploration and science, the expedition ended with disaster, when Mawson's two colleagues on his trip out failed to return. It's amazing that Mawson survived. Bickel writes well and takes the reader with him.
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on 16 October 2015
Excellent and riviting account if Douglas Mawson's expedition into Antarctic.and is a sterling example of human will to survive against the most overwhelming of odds. I really really enjoyed this book.
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on 31 December 2007
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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on 9 December 2001
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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VINE VOICEon 9 January 2010
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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on 8 December 2007
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.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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on 13 January 2014
The title of this book tells you what's at it's very core: one man's unbreakable will to survive under the most horrific conditions.
I feel this book highlights (without actually talking about it) the difference between Captain Scott and the great polar survivors such as Shackleton, Amundsen, Ross and Mawson. They had determination and iron will to do what was absolutely necessary to survive. Where Scott and his companions remained in their tent to die. In equally atrocious weather and an equally debilitated condition Mawson forced himself to make for home. Sometimes crawling on his hands and knees, dumping everything unnecessary for survival.
I found myself amazed, horrified, thrilled, impressed and ultimately extremely emotional. Read this story.
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on 17 January 2001
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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on 27 February 2012
I couldn't put this book down. Mawson's story is extraordinary. This book is one of only a few that have become etched in my psyche. I felt the suffering and pain with every word. his tragic loss and determination to survive. Worth every penny you pay for the book. Highly recommended.
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