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Race for the South Pole

3 ratings


For the first time ever Roland Huntford presents each man's account of the race to the South Pole in their own words. In 1910, Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen set sail for Antarctica, each from his own starting point, and the epic race for the South Pole was on. 2010 marks the centenary of the last great race of terrestrial discovery. For the first time Scott's unedited diary entries run alongside those of Amundsen and Bjaaland, never before translated into English. Cutting through the welter of controversy, with the polar journey at the heart of the story Huntford weaves a narrative from the protagonists' explanations of their own fate. What emerges is a whole new understanding of what really happened on the ice.

©2010 Roland Huntford (P)2014 Audible Inc.

Narrator: Bronson Pinchot
Length: 14 hrs and 38 mins
Available on Audible
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My Life with the Eskimo

1 rating


Who are the Eskimo peoples? And how do they survive in the freezing conditions of the far north?  Vilhjálmur Stefánsson left New York in April 1908 to begin his journey northwards and into the Arctic Circle. For the next two years, he made his way northwards to Victoria Island to study an isolated group of Inuit who still used primitive tools and had strong Caucasian features, and whom some believed were descended from Vikings. The journey into these remote areas was incredibly tough and being delayed by blizzards Stefánsson, along with his companions, were forced to eat the tongue of a beached whale that had been dead for at least four years. Stefánsson, who learnt how to communicate with the Inuit, provides fascinating insight into the beliefs and every day life of these people. “The book is full of psychologic and human interest, and of clear-cut observation of many different kinds.” (The North American Review) “This book contains a wealth of ethnological and biological information … this is a valuable contribution to the scientific study of the Eskimos, by one who knows them thoroughly.” (The Literary Digest) “It is impossible to analyze with certainty the amalgam of motives underlying the ceaseless movement of northern exploration, but the lure of the difficult and the dangerous can hardly be less active than the desire to enlarge bounds of human knowledge.” (The Nation) This book is essential reading for anyone interested in this remarkable expedition and for people who want to find out more about life of people in the far north prior to the advent of modern technology. Vilhjálmur Stefánsson was a Canadian Artic explorer and ethnologist. Under the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, he and Dr. R.M. Anderson undertook the ethnological survey of the Central Arctic coasts of the shores of North America from 1908 to 1912. The results of this expedition were My Life with the Eskimo first published in 1913. Stefánsson passed away in 1962.

Public Domain (P)2020 Historical Recordings

Narrator: Chris Matthess
Length: 15 hrs and 57 mins
Available on Audible
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In the Kingdom of Ice

5 ratings


New York Times bestselling author Hampton Sides returns with a white-knuckle tale of polar exploration and survival in the Gilded Age In the late nineteenth century, people were obsessed by one of the last unmapped areas of the globe: The North Pole. No one knew what existed beyond the fortress of ice rimming the northern oceans. James Gordon Bennett, the eccentric and stupendously wealthy owner of The New York Herald, had recently captured the world's attention by dispatching Stanley to Africa to find Dr. Livingstone. Now he was keen to re-create that sensation on an even more epic scale. So he funded an official U.S. naval expedition to reach the Pole, choosing as its captain a young officer named George Washington De Long, who had gained fame for a rescue operation off the coast of Greenland. De Long led a team of 32 men deep into uncharted Arctic waters, carrying the aspirations of a young country burning to become a world power. On July 8, 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds in the grip of "Arctic Fever." The ship sailed into uncharted seas, but soon was trapped in pack ice. Two years into the harrowing voyage, the hull was breached. Amid the rush of water and the shrieks of breaking wooden boards, the crew abandoned the ship. Less than an hour later, the Jeannette sank to the bottom, and the men found themselves marooned a thousand miles north of Siberia with only the barest supplies. Thus began their long march across the endless ice - a frozen hell in the most lonesome corner of the world. Facing everything from snow blindness and polar bears to ferocious storms and frosty labyrinths, the expedition battled madness and starvation as they desperately strove for survival. With twists and turns worthy of a thriller, In the Kingdom of Ice is a spellbinding tale of heroism and determination in the most unforgiving territory on Earth.

©2014 Hampton Sides (P)2014 Random House Audio

Narrator: Arthur Morey
Length: 17 hrs and 30 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for South


4 ratings


As war clouds darkened over Europe in 1914, a party led by Sir Ernest Shackleton set out to make the first crossing of the entire Antarctic continent via the Pole. But their initial optimism was short-lived as ice floes closed around their ship, gradually crushing it and marooning twenty-eight men on the polar ice. Alone in the world's most unforgiving environment, Shackleton and his team began a brutal quest for survival. And as the story of their journey across treacherous seas and a wilderness of glaciers and snow fields unfolds, the scale of their courage and heroism becomes movingly clear.

Public Domain (P)2011 Tantor

Narrator: Steven Crossley
Length: 14 hrs and 37 mins
Available on Audible
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A Wretched and Precarious Situation

1 rating


A Kirkus Reviews best nonfiction book of 2016. A remarkable true story of adventure, betrayal, and survival set in one of the world's most inhospitable places. In 1906, from atop a snow-swept hill in the ice fields northwest of Greenland, hundreds of miles from another human being, Commander Robert E. Peary spotted a line of mysterious peaks looming in the distance. He called this unexplored realm "Crocker Land". Scientists and explorers agreed that the world-famous explorer had discovered a new continent rising from the frozen Arctic Ocean. Several years later, two of Peary's disciples, George Borup and Donald MacMillan, assembled a team of amateur adventurers to investigate Crocker Land. Before them lay a chance at the kind of lasting fame enjoyed by Magellan, Columbus, and Captain Cook. While filling in the last blank space on the globe, they might find new species of plants or animals, or even men; in the era of Jules Verne and HG Wells, anything seemed possible. Renowned scientific institutions, and even former president Theodore Roosevelt, rushed to endorse the expedition. What followed was a sequence of events that none of the explorers could have imagined. Trapped in a true-life adventure story, the men endured howling blizzards, unearthly cold, food shortages, isolation, a fatal boating accident, a drunken sea captain, disease, dissension, and a horrific crime. But the team pushed on through every obstacle, driven forward by the mystery of Crocker Land and faint hopes that they someday would make it home. Populated with a cast of memorable characters, and based on years of research in previously untapped sources, A Wretched and Precarious Situation is a harrowing Arctic narrative unlike any other.

©2017 David Welky (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

Narrator: Joel Richards
Author: David Welky
Length: 15 hrs and 5 mins
Available on Audible
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The Worst Journey in the World

12 ratings


This gripping story of courage and achievement is the account of Robert Falcon Scott's last fateful expedition to the Antarctic, as told by surviving expedition member Apsley Cherry-Garrard. Cherry-Garrard, whom Scott lauded as a tough, efficient member of the team, tells of the journey from England to South Africa and southward to the ice floes. From there began the unforgettable polar journey across a forbidding and inhospitable region. On November 12, 1912, in arctic temperatures, the author, in a search party, found the bodies of Scott and his companions along with poignant last notebook entries, some of them recorded in this work. Among Apsley Cherry-Garrard's friends and admirers were John Galsworthy, H.G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, and Bernard Shaw. His background in the arts and humanities makes The Worst Journey in the World stand out as a literary accomplishment as well as a classic in the annals of exploration.

Public Domain (P)2003 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Narrator: Simon Vance
Length: 20 hrs and 6 mins
Available on Audible
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Fatal North

3 ratings


It began as President Ulysses S. Grant's bid for international glory after the Civil War - America's first attempt to reach the North Pole. It ended with Captain Charles Hall's death under suspicious circumstances, dissension among sailors, scientists, and explorers, and the ship's evacuation and eventual sinking. Then came a brutal struggle for survival by 33 men, women, and children stranded on the polar ice. When news of the disastrous expedition and accusations of murder reached Washington, D.C., it led to a nationwide scandal, an official investigation, and a government cover-up. The mystery of the captain's death remained unsolved for nearly 100 years. But when Charles Hall's frozen grave in northern Greenland was opened, forensic scientists were finally able to reach a shocking conclusion. Now, telling the complete story for the first time, best-selling author Bruce Henderson has researched original transcripts of the US Navy inquests, personal papers of Captain Hall, autopsy and forensic reports relating to the century-old crime, the ship's original log, and personal journals kept by crewmen to bring to life one of the most mysterious tragedies of American exploration.

©2011 Bruce Henderson (P)2016 Tantor

Narrator: John Pruden
Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
Available on Audible
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Farthest North


In 1893 Norwegian zoologist Fridtjof Nansen set sail for the North Pole in the Fram, a ship specially designed to be frozen into the polar ice cap, withstand its crushing pressures, and travel north with the sea's drift. Experts said that such a ship couldn't be built and that the mission was tantamount to suicide. Farthest North, first published in 1897 to great popular appeal, is the stirring first-person account of the Fram and her historic voyage. Nansen tells of his expedition's struggle against snowdrifts, ice floes, polar bears, scurvy, gnawing hunger, and the seemingly endless polar night that transformed the Fram into a "cold prison of loneliness". Once it became clear that the Fram could drift no farther, Nansen and crew member Hjalmar Johansen set out on a harrowing 15-month sledge journey to reach their destination by foot, which required them to share a sleeping bag of rotting reindeer fur and to feed the weaker sled dogs to the stronger ones. In the end, they traveled 146 miles farther north than any westerner had gone before, representing the greatest single gain in polar exploration in four centuries. Farthest North is an unforgettable story that marks the beginning of the modern age of exploration and is a must-hear for the armchair adventurer. PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2018 Fridtjof Nansen (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Narrator: Ulf Bjorklund
Length: 28 hrs and 10 mins
Available on Audible
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Ice Ghosts

50 ratings


The spellbinding story of the greatest cold case in Arctic history - and how the rare mix of marine science and Inuit knowledge finally led to the recent discovery of the shipwrecks. Spanning nearly 200 years, Ice Ghosts is a fast-paced detective story about Western science, indigenous beliefs, and the irrepressible spirit of exploration and discovery. It weaves together an epic account of the legendary Franklin Expedition of 1845 - whose two ships, the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror, and their crew of 129 were lost to the Arctic ice - with the modern tale of the scientists, researchers, divers, and local Inuit behind the recent discoveries of the two ships, which made news around the world. The journalist Paul Watson was on the icebreaker that led the expedition that discovered the HMS Erebus in 2014, and he broke the news of the discovery of the HMS Terror in 2016. In a masterful work of history and contemporary reporting, he tells the full story of the Franklin Expedition: Sir John Franklin and his crew setting off from England in search of the fabled Northwest Passage; the hazards they encountered and the reasons they were forced to abandon ship after getting stuck in the ice hundreds of miles from the nearest outpost of Western civilization; and the dozens of search expeditions over more than 160 years, which collectively have been called "the most extensive, expensive, perverse, and ill-starred...manhunt in history". All that searching turned up a legendary trail of sailors' relics, a fabled note, a lifeboat with skeletons lying next to loaded rifles, and rumors of cannibalism...but no sign of the ships until, finally, the discoveries in our own time. As Watson reveals, the epic hunt for the lost Franklin Expedition found success only when searchers combined the latest marine science with faith in Inuit lore that had been passed down orally for generations. Ice Ghosts is narrative nonfiction of the highest order, full of drama and rich in characters: Lady Jane Franklin, who almost single-handedly kept the search alive for decades; an Inuit historian who worked for decades gathering elders' accounts; an American software billionaire who launched his own hunt; and underwater archaeologists honing their skills to help find the ships. Watson also shows how the hunt for the Franklin Expedition was connected to such technological advances as scuba gear and sonar technology and how it ignited debates over how to preserve the relics discovered with the ships. A modern adventure story that arcs back through history, Ice Ghosts tells the complete and incredible story of the Franklin Expedition - the greatest of Arctic mysteries - for the ages.

©2017 Paul Watson (P)2017 Penguin Random House Canada

Author: Paul Watson
Length: 12 hrs and 22 mins
Available on Audible
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Ice Bear


Prime Arctic predator and nomad of the sea ice and tundra, the polar bear endures as a source of wonder, terror, and fascination. Humans have seen it as spirit guide and fanged enemy, as trade good and moral metaphor, as food source and symbol of ecological crisis.

Eight thousand years of artifacts attest to its charisma, and to the fraught relationships between our two species. In the white bear, we acknowledge the magic of wildness: It is both genuinely itself and a screen for our imagination.

Ice Bear traces and illuminates this intertwined history. From Inuit shamans to Jean Harlow lounging on a bearskin rug, from the cubs trained to pull sleds toward the North Pole to cuddly superstar Knut, it all comes to life in this book.

With meticulous research, the author brings into focus this powerful and elusive animal. Doing so, he delves into the stories we tell about nature - and about ourselves - hoping for a future in which such tales still matter.

The book is published by University of Washington Press.

"Engelhard is a first-rate guide and very capable writer; Ice Bear makes fascinating reading." (Open Letters Monthly)

"Ice Bear is a visual National Geographic with real verbal punch!" (New York Journal of Books)

"Eminently readable. This work is expertly researched." (Alaska Magazine)

©2017 University of Washington Press (P)2018 Redwood Audiobooks

Narrator: Philip Benoit
Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
Available on Audible
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The Great Polar Fraud


In 1910 Roald Amundsen set off from Oslo toward the North Pole but soon received word that two Americans - Frederick Cook and Robert Peary - each claimed to have reached the Pole ahead of him. Devastated, Amundsen famously went south. For years Cook and Peary tried to convince the world of their claims. Finally the National Geographic Society endorsed Peary, and the matter seemed settled. In May 1926 an American airman, Richard Byrd, flew north in a three-engine plane, and returned with a log showing that he had flow exactly over the geographical North Pole, becoming the third man to reach that mythical spot. National Geographic again supported the claim. However, it is now obvious that Peary claimed distances he could not possibly have achieved, and it is doubtful that Cooke, who had a history of fraud, ever got even close to the pole. Byrd flew further north than anyone before, but he did not have the fuel to have made the journey he claimed - his log was falsified. Just three days after Byrd's flight, Amundsen reenters the story on an airship traveling across the pole from Svalbard to Alaska, unknowingly passing directly over the pole, becoming the true first to reach it - just as he had been the first at the South Pole. The Great Polar Fraud explores the history of the three men who claimed the pole, their claims, and the subsequent doubts of those claims, effectively rewriting the history of polar exploration and putting Amundsen center stage as the rightful conqueror of both poles.

©2014 Anthony Galvin (P)2014 Audible Inc.

Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
Available on Audible
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Sea of Glory


"A treasure of a book." (David McCullough)  The harrowing story of a pathbreaking naval expedition that set out to map the entire Pacific Ocean, dwarfing Lewis and Clark with its discoveries, from The New York Times best-selling author of Valiant Ambition and In the Hurricane's Eye.  A New York Times Notable Book America's first frontier was not the West; it was the sea, and no one writes more eloquently about that watery wilderness than Nathaniel Philbrick. In his best-selling In the Heart of the Sea, Philbrick probed the nightmarish dangers of the vast Pacific. Now, in an epic sea adventure, he writes about one of the most ambitious voyages of discovery the Western world has ever seen - the US Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842.  On a scale that dwarfed the journey of Lewis and Clark, six magnificent sailing vessels and a crew of hundreds set out to map the entire Pacific Ocean and ended up naming the newly discovered continent of Antarctica, collecting what would become the basis of the Smithsonian Institution.  Combining spellbinding human drama and meticulous research, Philbrick reconstructs the dark saga of the voyage to reveal why, instead of being celebrated and revered as that of Lewis and Clark, it has - until now - been relegated to a footnote in the national memory.  Winner of the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize

©2003 Nathaniel Philbrick (P)2003 Penguin Audiobooks

Narrator: Scott Brick
Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
Available on Audible
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The Hidden Life of Ice


A pioneering researcher's illuminating account of Arctic ice - its secret history and dire future Barely inhabited, the Arctic is an alien world to most of us. It also holds critical clues about the future of our planet. In The Hidden Life of Ice, Marco Tedesco invites us to Greenland, where he and his fellow scientists are doggedly researching the dramatic changes afoot. Following the arc of his typical day at work, Tedesco unearths the secrets in the ice - from evidence of long-extinct "polar camels" to the fantastically weird microorganisms living at freezing temperatures in cryoconite holes.  Tedesco weaves together the bald facts on climate change with poetic reflections on this endangered landscape, the epic deeds of great Arctic explorers, and the legends of the rare local populations. The Hidden Life of Ice is more than a diatribe on climate - it's a moving tribute to a beautiful place that may be gone too soon.

©2019, 2020 il Saggiatore S.r.l.; English translation copyright 2020 by The Experiment, LLC; foreword copyright 2020 by Elizabeth Kolbert (P)2020 Tantor

Available on Audible
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The Man Who Ate His Boots

5 ratings


The enthralling and often harrowing history of the adventurers who searched for the Northwest Passage, the holy grail of 19th-century British exploration. After the triumphant end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the British took it upon themselves to complete something they had been trying to do since the 16th century: find the fabled Northwest Passage, a shortcut to the Orient via a sea route over northern Canada. For the next 35 years, the British Admiralty sent out expedition after expedition to probe the ice-bound waters of the Canadian Arctic in search of a route, and then, after 1845, to find Sir John Franklin, the Royal Navy hero who led the last of these Admiralty expeditions and vanished into the maze of channels, sounds, and icy seas with two ships and 128 officers and men. In The Man Who Ate His Boots, Anthony Brandt tells the whole story of the search for the Northwest Passage, from its beginnings early in the age of exploration through its development into a British national obsession to the final sordid, terrible descent into scurvy, starvation, and cannibalism. Sir John Franklin is the focus of the book but it covers all the major expeditions and a number of fascinating characters, including Franklin's extraordinary wife, Lady Jane, in vivid detail. The Man Who Ate His Boots is a rich and engaging work of narrative history that captures the glory and the folly of this ultimately tragic enterprise.

©2010 Anthony Brandt (P)2010 Random House

Narrator: Simon Vance
Length: 15 hrs and 18 mins
Available on Audible
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Finding Franklin

1 rating


In 2014, media around the world buzzed with news that an archaeological team from Parks Canada had located and identified the wreck of HMS Erebus, the flagship of Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition to find the Northwest Passage. Finding Franklin outlines the larger story and the cast of detectives from every walk of life that led to the discovery, solving one of the Arctic’s greatest mysteries. In compelling and accessible prose, Russell Potter details his decades of work alongside key figures in the era of modern searches for the expedition and elucidates how shared research and ideas have led to a fuller understanding of the Franklin crew’s final months. Finding Franklin recounts the more than 50 searches for traces of his ships and crew and the dedicated, often obsessive, men and women who embarked on them. Potter discusses the crucial role that Inuit oral accounts, often cited but rarely understood, played in all of these searches, and continue to play to this day, and offers historical and cultural context to the contemporary debates over the significance of Franklin’s achievement. While examination of HMS Erebus will undoubtedly reveal further details of this mystery, Finding Franklin assembles the stories behind the myth and illuminates what is ultimately a remarkable decades-long discovery. "With ambitious scope and profound depth...this seamless blend of research and captivating storytelling showcases the curiosity, frailty, and endurance of the human spirit." (Publisher’s Weekly)

©2016 University Press Audiobooks (P)2019 Redwood Audiobooks

Length: 8 hrs and 46 mins
Available on Audible
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Fatal Journey


The English explorer Henry Hudson devoted his life to the search for a water route through America, becoming the first European to navigate the Hudson River in the process. In Fatal Journey, acclaimed historian and biographer Peter C. Mancall narrates Hudson's final expedition. In the winter of 1610, after navigating dangerous fields of icebergs near the northern tip of Labrador, Hudson's small ship became trapped in winter ice. Provisions grew scarce and tensions mounted amongst the crew. Within months, the men mutinied, forcing Hudson, his teenage son, and seven other men into a skiff, which they left floating in the Hudson Bay. A story of exploration, desperation, and icebound tragedy, Fatal Journey vividly chronicles the undoing of the great explorer, not by an angry ocean, but at the hands of his own men.

©2009 Peter C. Mancall (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

Length: 8 hrs and 8 mins
Available on Audible
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Surface at the Pole


On 17 March 1959, the USS Skate became the first submarine to surface at the North Pole. Under the guidance of James Calvert this nuclear submarine had navigated through polar ice packs, braved atrociously cold conditions, and broken through layers of thick ice to arrive at their destination; the northernmost point of the world. This mission, however, was not just about completing a seemingly impossibly feat of Arctic exploration. It also had huge implications for military strategy during the height of the Cold War. Now that submarines were able to travel under and break through the ice, it gave the US military the capability of being avoid detection under the ice while being able to launch their Polaris missiles from points far closer to the Soviet Union. James Calvert's remarkable account of his two voyages to the Arctic with the USS Skate provides vivid insight into life in a nuclear submarine and how these men were able to complete this treacherous mission.

Public Domain (P)2020 Tantor

Narrator: Tom Perkins
Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
Available on Audible