Books To Read Before Taking A Trip To Antarctica

Taking a trip to Antarctica is very different from planning travel to anywhere else. After all, it is the windiest and coldest spot on the planet. Cruise companies like Hurtigruten empower you to enjoy the world’s most remote destination without worry. However, it’s worth the effort to be sure you get the most out of the special experiences that no other continent offers. One enjoyable way to better prepare yourself for what’s to come is to read both fiction and non-fiction books about Antarctica. This reading list includes novels to inspire your imagination and educational books about what you may want to see and do in Antarctica.

Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica

Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica by Sara Wheeler is a book written from the perspective of a travel writer and journalist. Wheeler spent seven months living in the icy desert of Antarctica, and this is a special book that delves into what it’s really like to be there. published in 2014, Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica It is considered a modern classic of polar literature.

Race to the Pole: Tragedy, Heroism, and Scott’s Antarctic Quest

Ranulph Fiennes was the first explorer to visit both the north and south poles by surface means, and the Guinness Book of World Records called him “the world’s greatest living explorer”. In Race to the Pole: Tragedy, Heroism, and Scott’s Antarctic Questwhich was first published in 2005, Fiennes presents a gripping historical biography of Robert Falcon Scott and his doomed Antarctica expedition.

Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent

Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent is a 2013 book by Gabrielle Walker that offers the scientific perspective on the continent. To write the book, Walker made several different journeys to Antarctica and stayed at several outposts, and she interviewed scientists and support personnel at many countries’ stations there. The book does have a scientific narrative, but it also brings in human-interest stories. You’ll learn about everything from Antarctica’s penguins to astronomy in the book, and it also offers a historical look at Antarctic exploration.

Race to the South Pole

Published in 2007 nearly 80 years after the credited author’s death, Race to the South Pole by Roald Amundsen reveals documentation of the explorer’s successful expedition to the South Pole on December 14, 1911. Born in his own words through historical essays and diary entries, it takes the reader through the journey of when the expedition was first created to the final race to Antarctica. It includes black-and-white archival photographs that capture moments of the expedition in addition to color photographs of Antarctica captured at other times.

The Last Place on Earth: Scott and Amundsen’s Race to the South Pole

As its subtitle suggests, Roland Huntford’s The Last Place on Earth: Scott and Amundsen’s Race to the South Pole is a book that looks closely at the race between Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen to get to Antarctica in the early 20’ century. Whether you know the history or not, you’re likely to be riveted by the stories of the failed and triumphant expeditions to Antarctica.

Antarctica: Journey to the Pole

As the first book in a series of two that’s intended for tween and teen readers, Antarctica: Journey to the Pole by Peter Lerangis will also be enjoyable for adult readers, or the entire family could read it together prior to taking a trip to Antarctica. This historical fiction novel that was first published in 2012 tells the story of a widower who takes his two grieving sons on an unpredictable adventure to Antarctica. If you like this book, you should also read the second and final book in the series called Antarctica: Escape from Disaster.

Antarctica: A Guide to the Wildlife

Written by Tony Soper and illustrated by Dafila Scott, Antarctica: A Guide to the Wildlife is a thoroughly informative book about the wildlife on the wild continent. It provides details about how to identify certain wildlife species, the information a visitor needs to know about whether and when to feed wildlife, and also details about the best locations to observe certain species. It includes information on nearly any animal you may hope to see there, including penguins and albatrosses.

The Birthday Boys

The Birthday Boys is a 2016 novel by Beryl Bainbridge. It’s a fictionalized story of the fascinating history of Antarctica through the eyes of its early explorers. The storytelling really takes you into what it must have been like for Robert Scott and his fellow explorers as they risked everything for their dream and mission to the isolated continent.

Antarctica: A Novel

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Antarctica: A Novel is another worthwhile novel that brings the reader deeply into Antarctica. Published in 2010, this novel has a compelling story and well-developed, believable characters, and it includes apt and awe-inspiring descriptions of the southernmost continent that you’re sure to remember when you visit it for yourself.

Destination: Antarctica

Robert Swan’s childhood hero was explorer Robert Falcon Scott, and his fascination with his story lasted well into adulthood. Finally, Swan decides to take the 900-mile trek to the South Pole, following in Scott’s footsteps. Published in 1988 and intended for young readers, Destination: Antarctica is Swan’s first hand account of his beautifully illustrated journey.

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage

With an introduction by Nathaniel Philbrick, Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing was first published in 2015. It tells the story of British explorer Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 attempted expedition to Antarctica. His dedication to reaching the South Pole is well captured, and the author’s use of Shackleton’s journals and those of his crew help really bring the story to life in captivating detail.


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