Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration
His two companions dead, food and supplies vanished in a crevasse, Douglas Mawson was still one hundred miles from camp.On January 17, 1913, alone and near starvation, Douglas Mawson, leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, was hauling a sledge to get back to base camp. The dogs were gone. Now Mawson himself plunged through a snow bridge, dangling over an abyss by the sledge harness. A line of poetry gave him the will to haul himself back to the surface.
Mawson was sometimes reduced to crawling, and one night he discovered that the soles of his feet had completely detached from the flesh beneath. On February 8, when he staggered back to base, his features unrecognizably skeletal, the first teammate to reach him blurted out, “Which one are you?”
This thrilling and almost unbelievable account establishes Mawson in his rightful place as one of the greatest polar explorers and expedition leaders. It is illustrated by a trove of Frank Hurley’s famous Antarctic photographs, many never before published in the United States.
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Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of ExplorationUser Review - Book Verdict
Climber and author Roberts (Finding Everett Ruess: The Life and Unsolved Disappearance of a Legendary Wilderness Explorer) presents a well-written narrative on the ambitious and arduous Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911–13 and its intrepid leader, Australian geologist Douglas Mawson. This large, multi-party expedition aimed to explore and study large sections of the then-unmapped Antarctic continent. Mawson only barely survived after two of his companions died and most of his food was lost in a crevasse. An experienced and knowledgeable adventure writer, Roberts deftly combines polar-exploration history and biographical background on Mawson and his companions with moving descriptions of the expedition's tragedies and triumphs. VERDICT While Mawson may be lesser known than fellow explorers Shackleton, Amundsen, or Scott, Roberts's thoroughly researched portrayal leaves little doubt that Mawson deserves a place among these giants of polar exploration. Best suited to history or adventure fans interested in the history of Antarctic exploration and tales of survival against the odds. Readers may also consider Douglas Mawson's own chronicle The Home of the Blizzard: A True Story of Antarctic Survival or Lennard Bickel's Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written.—Ingrid Levin, Salve Regina Univ. Lib., Newport, RI