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Antarctica Books - Natural History / Wildlife / Geography
Recommended Titles

The Crystal Desert
David Campbell

Paperback - 2002 - 308 pages

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A splendid, prize-winning portrait of Antarctica, the land and its history and especially its marine life. Written with authority and love, Campbell's vivid essays on fossils, glaciers, history and wildlife of the Antarctic Peninsula are an excellent introduction to the area.

Penguin PlanetPenguin Planet: Their World, Our World
Kevin Schafer

Hardcover: 144 pages (September 2000)

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Penguin Planet is the stunning result of Kevin Schafer's personal mission to observe and photograph each of the seventeen species of penguins in its natural habitat. With spectacular photos and lively text Penguin Planet is an affectionate portrait of the world's most popular birds. Includes spectacular photos of all species of penguins. Short text includes natural history tidbits, plus why penguins are so eternally and universally popular.

imageNatural History of the Antarctic Peninsula
Sanford Moss

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A chapter on the landscape and geology and one on the Southern Ocean give us the setting for the in-depth analysis of the flora and fauna of Antarctica: Green Plants, Herbivores, Fish, Birds, Mammals are all described in detail and portrayed by Lucia deLeiris illustrations. Every chapter ends with suggestions for further reading. The final chapter is a meditation on the future of the continent.

An Alien in Antarctica, Reflections upon Forty Years of Exploration and Research
Charles Swithinbank

Hardcover - 1997 - 232 pages

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Not exactly an alien, geologist, lecturer and raconteur Swithinbank writes of his experiences as a British glaciologist in the U.S. Antarctic Program in this wonderfully illustrated volume. Rich in anecdote, Swithinbank deploys his wit, enthusiasm and considerable powers of memory in this kind-hearted memoir.

Under Antarctic Ice
The Photographs of Norbert Wu. by Jim Mastro, Norbert Wu

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The allure of Antarctica, a place still mysterious, untamed, and unspoiled, has beckoned tourists in increasing numbers as more and more people vie for a glimpse of its terrible beauty and stunning vistas. But there is one aspect of Antarctica they never see, perhaps the most interesting of all-the world beneath the ice. This book, a collection of the finest photographs ever taken underwater in deep Antarctica, illuminates a world brimming with strange and beautiful life forms. For the first time anywhere, Under Antarctic Ice brings together the stories, the science, and the natural beauty of one of earth's most vibrant and enchanting realms. Internationally renowned photographer Norbert Wu was given unprecedented access to the icy waters off Antarctica by the U.S. National Science Foundation to obtain these dynamic photographs. In the extreme conditions that prevail in these seas, invertebrates can grow to enormous sizes: sponges are as big as bears, jellyfish tentacles extend thirty feet, and giant sea spiders crawl through beds of soft coral. Wu has also focused his lens on the birds and mammals living at the edge of water and ice. We are humbled before mammoth icebergs, witness a killer whale stalking prey from a narrow crack in the ice, and see what penguins look like swimming underwater. Jim Mastro's introductory text elegantly condenses forty years of scientific research into a clear and concise natural history of this unique place. Illustrations: 140 color photos, 2 maps

Glacier Ice
Austin Post, Edward R. LaChapelle

Paperback - 2000 - 145 pages

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An extraordinary book of aerial photographs of mountains, glaciers and ice accompanied by explanatory text by two devoted glaciologists. Much too beautiful to be called a textbook, this collection of striking black-and-white photographs introduces the major surface features, varieties of glaciers and diversity of ice. With a glossary and annotated bibliography for further reading. An obvious choice for mountaineers and polar explorers, this book will appeal to any curious traveller -- or even anyone who has ever looked out the window of an airplane en route over Greenland. In cooperation with the International Glaciological Society. A modern classic, originally published in 1971.

The Last Continent, Discovering Antarctica
Bernard Stonehouse

guidebook - 2000 - paperback - 278 pages

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Written with the visitor in mind, veteran Antarctican Stonehouse marshals a huge amount of information in this well-informed, personable guide to Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic Islands. Illustrated throughout with color photographs, many showing red-jacketed Antarctic visitors in action. A primer on everything the visitor may want to know about Antarctica, the book includes especially good descriptions of individual landing sites. Stonehouse, who heads Project Antarctic Conservation, has worked in the Antarctic for decades and lectured frequently on expedition ships. He concludes with a gently worded call for continued management of Antarctic tourism. 

US buy from Amazon USAAntarctica. The Last Continent (National Geographic Destinations)
Kim Heacox  

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National Geographic has always had the highest quality photography with great stories. This book is a particularly fine example of the art. If you only have one book on Antarctica, then this is a serious contender.


Antarctica and the Arctic : The Complete Encyclopedia
David McGonigal, Lynn Woodworth, Sir Edmund Hillary

Hardcover - 608 pages Book and CD-Rom edition (December 2001)

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Beautifully illustrated with color photographs and maps on every page, this inviting encyclopedia will delight both the eye and the mind. Most of the contributors are specialists in Antarctica, and less than a quarter of the book covers the Arctic. Keeping this focus in mind, readers will find that award-winning travel writer McGonigal and Woodworth, a specialist in genetic diversity who visits Antarctica regularly, have provided an excellent reference. The book covers the environment of the poles, polar geophysics and weather patterns, ecology, wildlife and flora, polar exploration, and working in the polar environments.

The user can navigate the text using a table of contents, an index, and a gazetteer, which refers to maps throughout the book. In addition, there is a CD-ROM, which is fully searchable and as beautifully illustrated as the book.

US buy from Amazon USAAntarctica : A Guide to the Wildlife
Tony Soper, Dafila Scott

Paperback - 160 pages 5th edition (Sept 2008)

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A Guide to the Wildlife, Dafila Scott's sensitive illustrations combine with Tony Soper's lively text to create a unique guide and a book that will give lasting pleasure. Whether you are a dedicated naturalist or an expedition member in search of a deeper understanding of the continent, this is the ideal companion.

Antarctic Oasis
Tim Carr, Pauline Carr

Hardcover - 256 pages (10 June, 1998)

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After 25 years of cruising the world's oceans, Pauline and Tim Carr spent five years as the only civilian inhabitants of South Georgia.

Demonstrating their deep fascination with the island, this book explores its landscape, wildlife and history. It offers the reader insight into the five years in which the Carrs' learned intimate details about the lives of the whales, penguins, seals and albatrosses that frequent its shores during the brief polar summer to feed, mate and rear their young. The book explores the glacier-clad mountains, stormy coast and sheltered bays of South Georgia, in all seasons.

A book of wildlife, of photographs, but more than anything of what it is like to live on the fabulous place that is South Georgia. A sub-Antarctic island rather than being Antarctica proper. There are nonetheless many of the animal species of Antarctica and plenty of glaciers, icebergs and authentic Antarctic windy weather.

US buy from Amazon USAPenguin (Photobook)
Frans Lanting, Christine K. Eckstrom

Hardcover - 168 pages (October 1999)

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Deservedly well known, the accomplished photographer Frans Lanting enters the deep south world of the flightless Antarctic birds to reveal their daily lives. A beautiful book full of images that will repay revisits again and again.    

Lanting writes:

I wanted to create an impression of who these penguins are and what they go through. I hope my work will be seen as an homage to the individual within them all.

Set against the starkly beautiful Antarctic rocks and ice, Lanting's subjects are brilliantly defined, as sure of their purpose in life as they are of krill in the water. Whether going to sea to hunt, or raising their heartbreakingly cute chicks in crowded rookeries, these penguins are sleek, elegant, and funny. Lanting's photos reveal their lives in sparkling, intimate detail.

US buy from Amazon USATerra Incognita : Travels in Antarctica
Sara Wheeler

Paperback - 351 pages (March 1999)

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A different report on life in Antarctica. Sara Wheeler lived for 7 months in the Antarctic, at various sites. She describes the history of Antarctic exploration, and the kind of characters it attracts. Trying to explain why some return time after time, she explains the hold the continent has on these people.

In addition to chronicling her own encounters with the people and the place, Wheeler brings the past alive as well, through vivid stories about the heroes of polar exploration: Shackleton, Scott, Amundsen, and others who practically become secondary characters in Wheeler's account. But it is her interactions with the living people who make up the community--scientists, drifters, and dreamers who have settled this forbidding landscape--that make Terra Incognita a rare and worthy book.

US buy from Amazon USAExplore Antarctica
Louise Crossley

Paperback - 112 pages (July 1995)

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Lots of information about the continent presented in a well-organized manner. The text is accompanied by photos, maps, graphs and captions. 112 pages long it is not overwhelming, recommend for adults and also as a learning resource.

Relatively few titles have been written on the natural history of Antarctica: this environmental study provides an important foundation for understanding the region and its natural history; from animals to the movement of ice. The basic compendium of details will prove accessible to both high school and adult readers with a special interest in the region.

THE HUNTER'S BREATH: On Expedition With the Weddell Seals of the AntarcticTHE HUNTER'S BREATH: On Expedition With the Weddell Seals of the Antarctic
by Terrie M., Ph.D Williams

Hardcover: 324 pages (April, 2004)

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Dr. Terrie Williams has written an enchanting book about her research and her enthusiasm for the natural world---a world few of us have the chance to experience. The book blends the rigor of her scientific approach with a fine-tuned talent for story telling. If this book were an eye into the harsh world of the Antarctic it would have a twinkle in it. 

US buy from Amazon USAPenguins of the World
Wayne Lynch

Hardcover - 176 pages (2007)

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Picture books often have boring text, and serious nature books often have photos that look like the ones used to prove the existence of the Loch Ness monster. This book has great color photos of all 17 species of penguins AND informative, readable text. Lynch obviously cares about his subject and his readers. If you are a nature photographer, bird lover, or penguin fanatic, this book is for you.

Whale Watching,  Discovery Books

Paperback - 224 pages (29 October, 1999)

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This 224-page title ventures into the secret realm of cetaceans, where whales are sovereigns of the deep, and playful dolphins merrily hold court. Informative essays look at all matters cetacean, from their renowned intelligence to the history of whaling, as well as providing a guide to the top whale and dolphin watching destinations around the world. A Travel Tips section includes carefully selected listings of specialist touring and lodging facilities. The work is lavishly illustrated with more than 250 spectacular photographs as well as 13 specially commissioned maps.

Written in an entertaining, easy-to-read style and it is lavishly illustrated with maps and stunning photographs. Each expert manages to take a no-nonsense approach with their writing that dispels myths, both modern and ancient. They show you how to increase your chances of spotting one of these elusive creatures while ensuring your encounter is as low-impact on the environment as possible. Section one deals with history, holidays and gear. Section two defines cetaceans Section three provides travel tips and in-depth information for each whale-spotting area. A truly delightful book which will be of equal interest to enthusiasts and those with just a passing curiosity in the subject.

See and Explore Library: Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises
Mark Carwardine, Martin Camm (Illustrator)

Paperback - 64 pages (May 1998)

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The Eyewitness Handbooks series, so popular with young readers, is now producing illustration-packed books for adults. In this guide to whales, dolphins, and porpoises, arranged by family orders, Carwardine explains that new species of these elusive creatures are still being discovered. The book's description of 79 species is based upon the author's and illustrator's own observations and the works of many other specialists. General information on diet, habitat, anatomy, behavior, and conservation prefaces the specific descriptions. For the casual whale watcher or earnest conservation buff, here is an invaluable guide. Glossary and association addresses included.

Historical Antarctic books   |   Children's Antarctic Books

Thermal, insulated underwear

Extreme Cold Weather Clothing

Lonely Planet travel guide Antarctica
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Frozen Planet
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The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Expedition
Dramatization with original footage

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