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Antarctica: Secrets of the Southern Continent
Antarctica: Secrets of the Southern Continent Antarctica: Secrets of the Southern Continent Antarctica: Secrets of the Southern Continent Antarctica: Secrets of the Southern Continent

* Book Type:

Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: David McGonigal, senior consultant
Audience: Trade
Specs: 600 full color photographs, illustrations, gazetteer, bibliography
Pages: 400
Trim Size: 10" x 13" X 1 8/16"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20081010
Price: Select Below


Antarctica: Secrets of the Southern Continent

Well illustrated with 600 photos, illustrations and maps this book is a guide to Antarctica's environment, geography, wildlife, and history featuring up-to-date material from an expert team of scientists, expeditioners and historians.

The geology, ecology and biology of the "continent for peace and science."

This comprehensive, fully illustrated and reader-friendly book honors the International Polar Year (2007-08) with a spectacular range of information on Antarctica and the Antarctic Islands, the world's harshest environment.

Antarctica features up-to-date material from an expert team of scientists, expeditioners and historians. Included are more than 600 photographs, illustrations and maps. Among the topics covered are:

  • Prehistory of Antarctica
  • Geology and geography
  • Flora and fauna
  • Climate and the nature of ice
  • The Antarctic ozone hole
  • The explorers
  • Current scientific research
  • Conservation issues
  • The impact of global warming
  • The Sub-Antarctic Islands.

Detailed information is found on current issues of land, law and treaties, shipping, resource exploitation, and tourism. Also included are the Antarctic Treaty, a gazetteer and a bibliography.

Front-page news reports cover the relative health of Antarctica. This authoritative book could not be timelier.


David McGonigal is an award-winning travel writer and the author or editor of more than a dozen books. He has made 25 journeys to the Antarctic Peninsula, Ross Sea, and Northeast and Northwest passages as leader, lecturer and photographer.



There is a book in my life that has led me to where I am today. As an eight-year-old, I visited the home of the Norwegian polar explorer, scientist, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Fridtjof Nansen. When we got back home, my father gave me Nansen's book about his traverse of the Greenland icecap. It was written in language that was too hard for me at that age. But in the school library the next day I found a book for kids about Roald Amundsen's expedition to the South Pole -- and that book inspired my childhood dream of skiing to the South Pole. The visit to the school library also opened my eyes to the fact that books could take me everywhere -- and teach me everything I wanted to know.

Christmas Eve 1994 -- more than 30 years after I had read that first book about Antarctic exploration -- I reached the South Pole. I had skied, solo and unsupported, over 750 miles (1,200 km). It took 50 days. Books about the old explorers had mentally prepared me for a harsher journey than I had. As the days passed on my way to the South Pole, I felt that I got more and more joy and energy. The undulating Antarctic landscape of white and blue and grey, the patterns in the snowdrifts and in the skies all mixed with the poetry I read at night -- making it as much a mental expedition as a physical one. Even though I was pulling a sled weighing 220 lb (100 kg), the hard work is not what I remember. It was the feeling of being at one with nature -- of knowing why I was there, what life is, who I am.

Antarctica is the world's last true wilderness. Each visit is an adventure for all who have the privilege to go there. Each visit gives us new experiences and knowledge. The southern continent is home to a rich wildlife, and it is a uniquely beautiful and harsh environment. It is a continent where diverse -- and sometimes warring -- nations coexist and cooperate, and where the environment is protected. Perhaps reading the text of the Antarctic Treaty can inspire international cooperation to solve the problems we are struggling with in the rest of the world -- after all, so far its peaceful conflict resolution process has managed to preserve Antarctica as "a continent for peace and science."

This book reveals the secrets of the southern continent in a way that will create new explorers of all ages and in all arenas. It tells the complete story of the unique Antarctic zone, and is full of wonderful photographs that inspire us to find out more about this fascinating region. We can read how Antarctica has taught us the world's history through its ancient layers of ice. The book features-in a reader-friendly way- the latest information about the region's geology and geography, flora and fauna, scientific research, conservation issues, and the impact of global warming. Knowledge about Antarctica is important for humankind and this book teaches us why. My hope is that this will be the most opened book all around the world.

Liv Arnesen
Norwegian lecturer, educator, and polar explorer. The first woman to ski solo to the South Pole (1994); since then she has crossed the Antarctic landmass with Ann Bancroft.


Table of Contents


The End of the Earth
Antarctic Regions
Antarctic Wildlife
Antarctic Exploration
Antarctica Today


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