- Copertina rigida: 352 pagine
- Editore: W W Norton & Co Inc (1 aprile 1976)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 0393083713
- ISBN-13: 978-0393083712
- Peso di spedizione: 1 Kg
Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration (Inglese) Copertina rigida – 1 apr 1976
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"Illustrated with a trove of Frank Hurley's celebrated photographs, this is truly heroic stuff." ----The Bookseller
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In "Alone on the Ice," David Roberts tells the true story of what Sir Edmund Hillary called "the greatest survival story in the history of exploration." Hillary was referring to the 1912 expedition of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson and his fellow members of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE). Mawson and cohorts set out to explore Antarctica with the intention of gathering specimens and to make scientific observations of the continent. What has left Mawson's considerable accomplishments and amazing survival story obscured by the layers of newsprint and time is--unlike Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott--he wasn't a pole bagger. Mawson, never grabbed headlines by "summiting" the south pole. Mawson and the AAE's expedition went virtually unnoticed by the public.
Now, at the 100th year anniversary of the expedition, Roberts tells the story of Mawson, alone after his companions had died during the expedition, an expedition that saw them trek over 600 miles round trip while being face with 100 miles per hour winds, and left with little of their original provisions. Left as a lone explorer, Mawson was forced to make a ninety-five mile trek across the Antarctic Ice while battling extreme hunger, madness, and the deadly terrain of the continent.
During his trek Mawson often had to crawl as a result of losing the flesh from the soles of his feet. And at one point, he fell into a deadly crevice that would have likely killed almost anyone else. However, Mawson, inspired by a poem by Robert. W. Service, was able to extricate himself out of the crevice with what could only be considered superhuman strength, determination, and extraordinary will. Roberts tells Mawson's story well and has seemingly done his research thorough, including some great, rarely-seen photos (one of an iced-over face is bizarre, as is the shot of an explorer's contortions to stay upright in a 100-mile an hour wind). The photos are by Frank Hurley, who is famous from his Endurance photos.
In sum, this is a very engaging read. Robert's detailed description of Mawson's determination, perseverance, and courage gives Mawson the heroic recognition while provided classic adventure story entertainment.
Mawson himself had a most horrific experience as he and two companions were trying to return to their winter quarters from one of their research trips. One of the three (Ninnis by name) was manning a dog-pulled sledge that had most of their critical gear on it: food, tents, stoves, etc. The sledge, man, and dogs all fell into a huge crevasse and were killed. That left Mawson and the other man Mertz to continue on their way with only 1.5 weeks worth of food for a month-long journey. Soon Mertz got sick and finally died. Mawson stayed with Mertz for 8 days while he was too weak to travel, thus endangering Mawson's own survival by continued exposure to the cold. After Mertz's death, Mawson had to get back on his own across the frozen waste, through bad weather, and with no-one to help rescue him should he fall into a crevasse. He finally staggered back into winter quarters a month later ... and the ship that was to have taken the men (Mawson and others left at the winter quarters) back to Australia had left FIVE HOURS earlier, thus necessitating they stay at winter quarters another year until the ship could get back to them. Talk about endurance and fortitude!
And yet, they endured. If you like polar and exploration sagas, this one is a must-read. Mawson was knighted upon his return to Australia, and was celebrity-famous for decades in his home country.