Empire Antarctica

Empire Antarctica

Ice, Silence, & Emperor Penguins

Book - 2013
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Baker & Taylor
Describes the author's time working as a basecamp doctor at Antarctica's Halley research station and his fascination with the emperor penguin community that shared the icy continent with him.

Perseus Publishing
Gavin Francis fulfilled a lifetime's ambition when he spent fourteen months as the basecamp doctor at Halley, a profoundly isolated British research station on the Caird Coast of Antarctica. So remote, it is said to be easier to evacuate a casualty from the International Space Station than it is to bring someone out of Halley in winter.

Antarctica offered a year of unparalleled silence and solitude, with few distractions and a very little human history, but also a rare opportunity to live among emperor penguins, the only species truly at home in he Antarctic. Following Penguins throughout the year -- from a summer of perpetual sunshine to months of winter darkness -- Gavin Francis explores the world of great beauty conjured from the simplest of elements, the hardship of living at 50 c below zero and the unexpected comfort that the penguin community bring.

Empire Antarctica is the story of one man and his fascination with the world's loneliest continent, as well as the emperor penguins who weather the winter with him. Combining an evocative narrative with a sublime sensitivity to the natural world, this is travel writing at its very best

Book News
Physician Francis in this travel narrative reflects on the fourteen months he spent in Antarctica as base camp doctor. The text intersperses and interweaves human-centered narratives of life in such a strange place with awe at the natural beauty and activities of emperor penguins, the only animal biologically adapted to the continent. The first several chapters show the anticipation of the journey, while the remaining chapters are divided into the dramatic polar seasons. Reflections on historical expeditions to Antarctica also put the comparatively tame modern experience into perspective, without robbing its wonder and awe. A limited number of color plates show the unique polar landscape. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: Berkeley, CA :, Counterpoint,, [2013]
ISBN: 9781619021846
Characteristics: ix, 260 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 24 cm


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Jul 09, 2015

This is the very best of travel writing - reflection, context and information by an interesting author. The book is less about the empire penguins than about the experience of silence and isolation. 2013 Costa Shortlist.

Aug 04, 2014

The author uses very descriptive sentences which wasn't to my taste.

rsmbarlow Jun 15, 2014

Loved this book! It's less about penguins and more about landscape, place and silence. It is beautifully written and full of wonderfully descriptive passages. This book was on The Economist's best books of 2013.


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