Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written

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Steerforth Press, 2000 - History - 261 pages
4 Reviews
MAWSON'S WILL is the dramatic story of what Sir Edmund Hillary calls "the most outstanding solo journey ever recorded in Antarctic history." For weeks in Antarctica, Douglas Mawson faced some of the most daunting conditions ever known to man: blistering wind, snow, and cold; loss of his companion, his dogs and supplies, the skin on his hands and the soles of his feet; thirst, starvation, disease, snowblindness - and he survived.
Sir Douglas Mawson is remembered as the young Australian who would not go to the South Pole with Robert Scott in 1911, choosing instead to lead his own expedition on the less glamorous mission of charting nearly 1,500 miles of Antarctic coastline and claiming its resources for the British Crown. His party of three set out through the mountains across glaciers in 60-mile-per-hour winds. Six weeks and 320 miles out, one man fell into a crevasse, along with the tent, most of the equipment, all of the dogs' food, and all except a week's supply of the men's provisions.
Mawson's Will is the unforgettable story of one man's ingenious practicality and unbreakable spirit and how he continued his meticulous scientific observations even in the face of death. When the expedition was over, Mawson had added more territory to the Antarctic map than anyone else of his time. Thanks to Bickel's moving account, Mawson can be remembered for the vision and dedication that make him one of the world's great explorers.
"A riveting account . . . makes Mawson's achievement a symbol of the desire to live." -- "The New York Times Book Review
"A powerful reading experience." -- "Publishers Weekly

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - whwatson - LibraryThing

An engaging story set in the early 1900’s during the height of artic and polar exploration. Rated as one of the 10 best books of 20th century exploration by The Explorer’s Club, Lennard Bickel ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pouleroulante - LibraryThing

1911-1913, exploring west of Cape Adare. Ninnis falls down a crevasse, Mertz dies of Vitamin A toxicity, but Mawson survives. Ripping yarn from "The Heroic Age". I read it years ago but its impact remains. Read full review


The Two Tents
The Cruel Continent
The Assault
The Rejected Invitation
Driven Westward
The Kingdom of Blizzards
The Winter of Intent
Outward Bound
Diet of Dog
Cross in the Snow
One Pair of Feet
Corpse in a Crevasse
A Colored Bag
Aladdins Beacon
A Winter to Wait
The Contract Stands

Discovery and Death
In Peril on the Ice
Authors Note

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About the author (2000)

Australian author Lennard Bickel reconstructed Mawson's journey from the diaries of Mawson and other members of his expedition. He is the author of seven books, including Shackleton's Forgotten Men.

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