The South Pole: An Account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the "Fram," 1910-1912

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NYU Press, Apr 1, 2001 - History - 449 pages
5 Reviews

Before Sir Ernest Shackleton's exploration of the Antarctic waters in 1914, Captain Roald Amundsen led a courageous team through ice-chocked waters to become the first expedition to reach the South Pole in 1911. Read the fascinating account of his journey in The South Pole.

"Roald Amundsen planted the Norwegian flag on the South Pole on December 14, 1911: a full month before Robert Falcon Scott arrived on the same spot. Amundsen's 'The South Pole' is less well-known than his rival's, in part because he is less of a literary stylist, but also, perhaps, because he survived the journey. His book is a riveting first-hand account of a truly professional expedition; Amundsen's heroism is understated, but it is heroism nonetheless."
--The Times of London, 23 June 2001

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the South Pole was the most coveted prize in the fiercely nationalistic modern age of exploration. In the spring of 1911 two separate expeditions left their respective camps in Antarctica in a desperate bid to achieve the glory of being first to reach the South Pole: a British party, led by Captain R. F. Scott, and a Norwegian one under Captain Roald Amundsen. The South Pole,? Amundsen's first-hand account of the expedition,? is a fascinating and highly readable history of the tenacity and perseverance of the age.

"The last of the Vikings," Roald Engebreth Gravning Amundsen was a powerfully built man of over six feet in height, born into a family of merchant sea captains in 1872. In 1903 he navigated the Northwest Passage in a 70-foot fishing boat. Soon afterwards he learned that Ernest Shackleton was setting out on an attempt to reach the South Pole. Shackleton abandoned his quest a mere 97 miles short of the Pole, but Amundsen began preparing his own expedition. Although this was the age of the amateur explorer, Amundsen was a professional: he left little to chance, apprenticed with Inuits, and obsessed over every detail.

On October 18, 1911 Amundsen's party set out from the Bay of Whales, on Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf, for their final drive toward the pole. His British counterpart, Robert Falcon Scott, dependent on Siberian ponies rather than on dogs, began his trip three weeks later. While Scott clung fast to the British rule of "No skis, no dogs," Amundsen understood that both were vital to survival. Aided by exceptionally cooperative weather conditions, Amundsen's men passed the point where Shackleton was forced to turn back on December 7, and at approximately 3pm on December 14, 1911, Roald Amundsen raised the flag of Norway at the South Pole, one month before Scott's party would arrive.

A polar masterpiece of history and adventure, The South Pole is the stunning first-hand account of one of the greatest success stories in the annals of exploration. Most skillfully Amundsen constructs the expedition's character through its personalitiesthe cast of veteran explorers, scientists, and crewproviding insight not only into Amundsen's philosophy of exploration, but into the classical age of polar explorers.

  

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Review: South Pole: An Account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the 'Fram', 1910-12

User Review  - Michael Brady - Goodreads

I read a two volume set from the the original hardcover printing. Amundsen's prose is a little plain but one of his strengths was planning carefully so as to avoid drama. Read full review

Review: South Pole: An Account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the 'Fram', 1910-12

User Review  - Grigoriy Povarov - Goodreads

Read if you do business with Norwegians. Read full review

Contents

THE HISTORY OF THE SOUTH POLE
1
PLAN AND PREPARATIONS
42
ON THE WAY TO THE SOUTH
90
FROM MADEIRA TO THE BARRIER
126
ON THE BARRIER
169
DEPOT JOURNEYS
206
PREPARING FOR WINTER
259
A DAY AT FRAMHEIM
283
THE END OF THE WINTER
346
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was born near Borge, Norway. Although he studied medicine, he abandoned that career to pursue a life at sea. In 1897 he went to the Antarctic with a Belgian expedition. The ship, Belgica, became the first vessel to spend a winter in Antarctica. From 1902 to 1906, Amundsen explored the Northwest Passage, becoming the first person to navigate this waterway in both directions. In 1910 Amundsen set out hoping to be the first person to reach the North Pole. But when the news that the American Robert Peary had reached the pole, Amundsen shifted his attention to the South Pole. He became the first person to reach the South Pole, on in December 14, 1911, the month before Captain Robert Falcon Scott. Amundsen disappeared in the Arctic in 1928 while searching by plane for his airship Italia, which had been missing. Among the books that Amundsen wrote about his adventures, most notably is his autobiography, My Life as an Explorer (1927).

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