Innocents on the Ice: A Memoir of Antarctic Exploration, 1957
Innocents on the Ice is based on the author's experience and writings as part of a U.S. Navy-supported scientific expedition to establish Ellsworth Station on the Filchner Ice Shelf. This expedition, undertaken from November 1956 to early 1958, coincided with the International Geophysical Year (1957-1958)which initiated the "scientific age" in Antarctica.
Behrendt describes the stress of experiencing the dark Antarctic winter of 1957, during which intense personal conflicts arose at the most isolated of the seven U.S. Antarctic stations. The tension was unrelieved by contact with the outside world, since there was no mail for the 9 civilians and 30 Navy men living beneath the snow and only occasional radio contact was made with families for a year.
The author also describes his explorations with four others of the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf system during the following summers of 1957-1958. Along the hazardous 1300-mile oversnow traverse in two Sno-Cats, the field party measured ice thickness and snow accumulation as part of an international effort to determine the balance of the Antarctic ice sheet, and they also made the first geological observations of the spectacular Dufek Massif in the then unexplored Pensacola Mountains.
Finally, Behrendt draws upon his 40 years of continual participation in Antarctic research to explain the changes in scientific activities and environmental awareness in Antarctica today.