Antarctica: What Everyone Needs to Know®

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Oxford University Press, 2019 - History - 216 pages
In this addition to the What Everyone Needs to Know® series, David Day examines the most forbidding and formidably inaccessible continent on Earth. For over a century following its discovery by European explorers in 1820, Antarctica played host to competing claims by rival nations vying for access to the frozen land's vast marine resources -- namely the skins and oils of seals and whales. Though the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 was meant to end this contention, countries have found other means of extending control over the land, with scientific bases establishing at least symbolic claims. Exploration and drilling by the United States, Great Britain, Russia, Japan, and others has led to discoveries about the world's climate in centuries past -- and in the process intimations of its alarming future.

Delving into all the relevant issues -- the history of the continent, its wildlife, underwater mountain ranges, arguments over governance, and the continent's effect on global climate change -- Day's work sheds new light on a territory that, despite being the coldest, driest, and windiest continent in the world, will continue to be the object of intense speculation and competition. With new evidence that Antarctica's ice is melting three times faster than it was a decade ago, the need to understand the world's southernmost region has never been more pressing.


1 First Contact
2 The Race for Antarctica in the Twentieth Century
3 Imperial Rivalry
4 War on the Ice
5 Science and Discovery
6 Commercial Activity in Postwar Antarctica
7 The Antarctic Treaty of 1959
8 Global Warming
9 The Future of Antarctica

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About the author (2019)

David Day has been a research fellow at Clare College in Cambridge and a visiting professor at University College Dublin, the University of Aberdeen, and the Center for Pacific and American Studies at the University of Tokyo. He is currently a research associate at La Trobe University in Melbourne. He is the author of many books, including Antarctica: A Biography (Oxford University Press, 2013), Conquest: How Societies Overwhelm Others (Oxford University Press, 2008), and the award-winning Claiming a Continent: A History of Australia.

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