UPDATED JANUARY 2020
Want to do some Further Reading on Antarctica? These are our recommendations for books and websites that’ll prepare you for your adventure to the far south.
Shrouded in hundreds of years of fascinating expedition history and comprising one of the most unique environments found on our planet, Antarctica is both a compelling and confusing place to research. Where should you even start?! Whilst you can certainly read Wikipedia pages ad nauseam, you may find it more enjoyable to dive into a host of wonderful books and websites instead. Fascinating, gripping and educational, our favourite collections of Antarctica books and websites deliver all the knowledge you need when planning a trip to the far south, in a much more entertaining manner.
From the earliest days of polar explorations and the most unbelievable tales of human endurance to the best wildlife guides and most updated info on environmental protection and scientific research, our collection of the best reading on Antarctica has got you covered.
Here’s where to start:
Further Reading on Antarctica- Books
Endurance – Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage – Alfred Lansing
Endurance is perhaps the most unmissable read for anyone planning a voyage to Antarctica. Named after the ship commandeered by Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton in 1914, the book recounts his extraordinary and almost impossible-to-believe expedition to the White Continent. This is, by far, the most famous Antarctica exploration story of all and is one of many reasons Shackleton is regarded as the most pivotal figure during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Explorations. If you’re not familiar with the tale of the ill-fated Endurance, trust that you’ll be left absolutely awe-inspired and, if you are, you’ll no doubt gain further insights (and respect) for this truly incredible explorer. Lansing did an amazing job of recounting the tale in a superbly gripping way – this beautifully written book reads more like a fantastical novel rather than a true-life story. Learn more astonishing facts about Ernest Shackleton before tackling your own adventure to the south.
South: The Endurance Expedition – Ernest Shackleton
One would expect that Shackleton’s retelling of his own story of survival aboard the Endurance would be an incomparable read and, in many ways, it sure is. South offers a unique and sobering perspective to the team’s 1914 Antarctica expedition saga and includes more in-depth details of the day-to-day struggles the team faced just to stay alive. Yet what South boasts in first-hand details it lacks in emotive narrative, offering an overall more detailed yet somewhat less gripping read than Landing’s biography noted above. If you only have time to read one book on the Endurance expedition then opt for Landing’s Endurance but, if you crave to know even more about the insane tale then add South to your reading list as well.
Race for the South Pole: The Expedition Diaries of Scott and Amundsen – Roland Huntford
If you’re researching the history of Antarctic expeditions, you will no doubt have already come across the astonishing story of Scott and Amundsen’s treacherous race to the South Pole, which played out in 1910-11. For decades after Amundsen commendable achievement and Scott’s disastrous demise, the latter was portrayed as the quintessential British hero, a reputation Huntford tried several times to dismantle over the years and crushed, once and for all, with the publication of this book in 2010. The Race for the South Pole is a dual-biography, containing a side-by-side comparison of both Scott and Amundsen’s unedited diaries, which had never before been published.
Was Scott the consummate heroic explorer or was he just an ill-prepared adventurer who got in over his head? Best you read this book and make up your own mind!
Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration – David Roberts
An adventurous legend in his own right, Roberts beautifully recaps what Sir Edmund Hillary dubbed ‘the greatest survival story in the history of exploration’, about the near-miraculous survival of Sir Douglas Mawson on his 1912 Australasian Antarctic Expedition. Mawson is considered Australia’s own pioneer of Antarctic expeditions, an incredible explorer whose humble nature precluded him from becoming a household name outside the most dedicated Antarctic exploration circles.
Read more about Sir Douglas Mawson and his incredible feat of survival
Antarctica Cruising Guide: Fourth edition: Includes Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Ross Sea – Craig Franklin and Peter Wright Carey
The latest edition of this popular guide book includes even more breath-taking photos and plenty of detailed info on the most spectacular landing sites and most prolific wildlife you’ll likely see on your Antarctic expedition. Don’t fear having your visit ‘spoilt’ by too much info! There isn’t a photo in the world that can compete with the real deal but knowing more about the places you’ll visit and animals you’ll see means you’ll get much more out of your visit. The great thing about the Antarctica Cruising Guide is that it also includes the outer islands of South Georgia and the Falklands, so it’s a very comprehensive travel companion no matter which Antarctic expedition cruise you choose to join.
Antarctica: A Guide to the Wildlife – Bradt Travel Guide
If you’re looking for a great wildlife reference guidebook that’ll fit in your daypack, this is the one, with oodles of fascinating info and fab illustrations that make identifying animals really easy. Do keep in mind that Antarctic expedition guests have complained about the Kindle format of this guide not being quite right so do yourself a favour and grab the paperback version instead. The latest edition of this book was printed in 2018.
The Crystal Desert: Summers in Antarctica – David G. Campbell
Part historical book, part wildlife guide and part novel, this poetically written book is a great ‘all-rounder’ that is difficult to classify. If you’d love a general overview of Antarctica that is not too exhaustive but is comprehensive (one that also includes a rundown of the most important historical expeditions) then you’ll appreciate this great read.
Further Reading on Antarctica – Websites
Australian Antarctic Division
Australia’s Antarctic programme runs a website that is an endless source of great info on the continent, be it in regards to scientific research, environmental protection, the latest amendment to the Antarctic Treaty and even info on the kind of living conditions researchers should expect to face when heading to the far south.
Mawson’s Huts Foundation
The Mawson’s Huts Foundation exists to conserve in perpetuity for the Australian people the unique historical buildings known as Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison (on Commonwealth Bay), the base for the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-14 led by Australia’s greatest polar explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson.
Chimu Adventures Antarctica Blog Archive
Our own blogsite boasts a wealth of information that prospective Antarctica travellers will find very useful. Here, you’ll find an abundance of informative reading that’ll help you hone in on the right cruise for you, learn all about the activities on offer, what you can expect to see and do, how to pack for an expedition to the south, as well as our latest special offers and chartered expedition trips.
Is 2020 the year you put all that marvellous reading to good use? Chat to one of our Antarctica travel specialists today and they can help you find your dream southernmost adventure. See our collection of Antarctica Expeditions and contact us to know more