A gripping history of the polar continent, from the great discoveries of the nineteenth century to modern scientific breakthroughs Antarctica, the ice kingdom hosting the South Pole, looms large in the human imagination. The secrets of this vast frozen desert have long tempted explorers, but its brutal climate and glacial shores notoriously resist human intrusion. Land of Wondrous Cold tells a gripping story of the pioneering nineteenth-century voyages, when British, French, and American commanders raced to penetrate Antarctica's glacial rim for unknown lands beyond. These intrepid Victorian explorers-James Ross, Dumont D'Urville, and Charles Wilkes-laid the foundation for our current understanding of Terra Australis Incognita. Today, the white continent poses new challenges, as scientists race to uncover Earth's climate history, which is recorded in the south polar ice and ocean floor, and to monitor the increasing instability of the Antarctic ice cap, which threatens to inundate coastal cities worldwide. Interweaving the breakthrough research of the modern Ocean Drilling Program with the dramatic discovery tales of their Victorian forerunners, Gillen D'Arcy Wood describes Antarctica's role in a planetary drama of plate tectonics, climate change, and species evolution stretching back more than thirty million years. An original, multifaceted portrait of the polar continent emerges, illuminating our profound connection to Antarctica in its past, present, and future incarnations. A deep-time history of monumental scale, Land of Wondrous Cold brings the remotest of worlds within close reach-an Antarctica vital to both planetary history and human fortunes.
Cold begone! Here be wonders. . . . [Wood] approaches Antarctica with refreshing breeziness. ---Fergus Fleming, Literary Review Like Antarctica itself: dynamic and unexpected, but always fascinating. ---Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine Gripping and informative to the last page. ---Dr Alyson Hitch, Bay Magazine Evocative and vivid. ---Steven Carroll, Sydney Morning Herald Three nations sent expeditions to the Antarctic in the late 1830s and early 1840s. This fascinating account describes their members' heroism and often disastrous experiences without ignoring the significant discoveries that followed. . . . Outstanding history accompanied by outstanding popular science. * Kirkus, starred review * [A] superb account. ---Nick Smith, Engineering & Technology In a book that is both science and adventure story, Land of Wondrous Cold weaves together the human and natural history of the Antarctic by connecting early Victorian explorers and their discoveries with ancient and modern geological findings. ---Midge Raymond, EcoLit Books