A Pulitzer Prize–winning author examines South Pole expeditions, “wrapping the science in plenty of dangerous drama to keep readers engaged” (Booklist).
An Empire of Ice presents a fascinating new take on Antarctic exploration—placing 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.
Recounting the Antarctic expeditions of the early twentieth century, the author reveals 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 of these legendary adventures, Edward J. Larson deepens our appreciation of the explorers’ achievements, shares little-known stories, and shows what the Heroic Age of Antarctic discovery was really about.
“Rather than recounting the story of the race to the pole chronologically, Larson concentrates on various scientific disciplines (like meteorology, glaciology and paleontology) and elucidates the advances made by the polar explorers . . . Covers a lot of ground—science, politics, history, adventure.” —The New York Times Book Review