Tuesday, March 15, 2011

List #2: Polar Opposites


1.  Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape, Barry Lopez (1986).  Barry Lopez's book nearly defy description.  He draws upon acute powers observation to present the entire landscape of the arctic combined with the desires of the people who have traveled there.  Lopez desires his own list of books (idea for a later list).  My copy was a find at a local second-hand bookshop.  

2.  Crown of the World: A View of the Inner Arctic, Cora Cheney and Ben Partridge (1979).  Story of circumpolar travel around Alaska, Siberia, Greenland, and Canada.  Bought this in used bookstore for $1 because it had wonderful black and white photos, illustrations and maps.  

3.  The Land of White Death, Valerian Albanov (2000).  Based on a journal of a 32-year old Russian navigator who had his ship frozen into the ice of the Kara Sea for a year and a half.  Book was Christmas gift.    


4.  Last Places: A Journey in the North, Lawrence Millman (1990).  Millman travels the north edge of the Atlantic on the trail of Vikings chasing down tales of ancient Norse settlements from Iceland to Greenland to Norway.  A used book store find during a travel kick. 


5.  Discovery: The Quest for the Great Southland, Miriam Estensen.  Combines the stories of early Greeks, mapmakers and explorers who theorized and went looking for the bottom of the world.  A new used book found at Raven books in Amherst, MA.  

6.  Scott's Last Expedition, (Journal of Captain Robert Scott) (1964).   Most armchair travelers know the story of Scott's failure to be the first to the South Pole, later to be known as the worst journey in the world.  The London Folio Society published Scott's journals with rare black and white pictures of the expedition.  Found at the Department of State used book sale.   Ends with the haunting lines, It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more.  For God's sake look after our people.   

7.  The White Continent: The Story of Antarctica, Thomas R. Henry (1950).  Provides a solid history starting with Captain Cook's expedition south and ends with the question of the day, who owns the Antarctic?  Large font and great margins.  Back when books were books.  Used bookstore find but can't recall where. 

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