On My Bookshelf: The Roof at the Bottom of the World

My wife thought I was crazy bringing this book to bed on a cold winter’s night. But tucked in under the covers, I enjoyed last week’s read from Arizona State’s professor of exploration (that title is so cool) Edmund Stump.

I’ve read a lot on Antarctica, but this book benefits from a unique perspective. The Transantarctic Mountains form the spine of that frozen continent. They were a barrier and a curiosity to early explorers striving for the pole. They form the foundation of this coffee table-sized volume.

This book balances the heroic adventures of the Antarctic explorers with Dr Stump’s personal experiences of science in the field. The author has an artist’s eye, and his photography really enhances this read. Maps old and new. Traveling routes superimposed over pretty pictures. A good bit of the geology of the continent. And always with those remote mountains close at hand.

Great book. It covers those expeditions leading up to and including the 1911 marches to the pole of Amundsen and Scott. The Admiral Byrd era of the 30’s. The establishment of the permanent American presence in the IGY. Even if you want to skip over the science and exploration narratives, you could spend a nice afternoon gazing at and reflecting on the breathtaking scenery.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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