1912 was an incredible year, marking the height of the Heroic Age of Exploration. Curiosity about Antarctica was at fever pitch, and between 1910 and 1914 five teams of intrepid explorers embarked on the greatest race of the era, to travel beyond the edges of the known world and conquer this last great frontier.
Pitted against each other were Captain Robert Falcon Scott for Britain, Roald Amundsen for Norway, Sir Douglas Mawson for Australasia, Wilhelm Filchner for Germany and Nobu Shirase for Japan. 'Conquest of the South Pole!' trumpeted the world's newspapers in March 1912. Amundsen had won. But behind all the headlines, there was a much bigger story.
The exploits of these larger-than-life explorers, often narrated in their own words, thrilled and enthralled the world; the limits of our planet were pushed all the way to the South Pole and the door to Antarctica flung wide open. Drawing on his own polar experiences, Chris Turney reveals why 1912 witnessed the dawn of a new age in our understanding of the natural world. The tales of endurance, self-sacrifice and technological innovation that marked 1912 laid the foundation for modern scientific exploration and have continued to inspire future generations.
1912 is an awe-inspiring journey - part nail-biting adventure, part scientific history - through an ancient and fascinating land.
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"[An] engaging treatment. The portraits are nuanced" ( Nature)
" 1912 is a great achievement - an insightful, fascinating and rigorously researched page-turner. Even seasoned Antarctic enthusiasts will find something new here. Fluent throughout, the passages on Antarctic science are beautifully clear. It reveals much not only about the way our planet works, but the debt that scientists like Turney owe each of the six expeditions of a century ago" (Gavin Francis)
"A gripping account of the race to the South Pole, 1912 is a celebration of pioneering explorers and their awe-inspiring achievements. Turney brings the Antarctic adventure to life" (Sir Ranulph Fiennes)
"There are indeed lessons we can learn from Scott and Mawson. It is to Turney's great credit that he can so convincingly show their contemporary relevance, even as he recreates their long since surpassed scientific achievements" (Robert Mayhew Times Higher Education Supplement)
"In this highly informative and fitting account Chris Turney reminds us of the legacy left by the polar giants of the Edwardian age - not tracks in the snow heading South, but a body of scientific discovery, analysis and reports that opened up the continent for the first time and continues to inform scientists today" (Henry Worsley)
CHRIS TURNEY is an Australian and British geologist, described by the Saturday Times as 'the new David Livingstone'. He is Professor of Climate Change at the University of New South Wales and the author of Ice, Mud and Blood: Lessons from Climates Past and Bones, Rocks and Stars: The Science of when Things Happened. In 2007 he was awarded the Sir Nicholas Shackleton Medal for outstanding young scientist for pioneering research into past climate change and dating the past and in 2009 received the Geological Society of London's Bigsby Medal for services to geology.
Twitter: @ProfChrisTurney / www.christurney.com
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