Published to coincide with the centenary of the first expeditions
to reach the South Pole, An Empire of Ice presents a fascinating
new take on Antarctic exploration. Retold with added information,
it's the first book to place the famed voyages of Norwegian
explorer Roald Amundsen, his British rivals Robert Scott and Ernest
Shackleton, and others in a larger scientific, social, and
geopolitical context. Efficient, well prepared, and focused solely
on the goal of getting to his destination and back, Amundsen has
earned his place in history as the first to reach the South Pole.
Scott, meanwhile, has been reduced in the public mind to a dashing
incompetent who stands for little more than relentless perseverance
in the face of inevitable defeat. An Empire of Ice offers a new
perspective on the Antarctic expeditions of the early twentieth
century by looking at the British efforts for what they actually
were: massive scientific enterprises in which reaching the South
Pole was but a spectacular sideshow. By focusing on the larger
purpose, Edward Larson deepens our appreciation of the explorers'
achievements, shares little-known stories, and shows what the
Heroic Age of Antarctic discovery was really about.