Published to coincide with the centenary of the first expeditions to reach the South Pole, An Empire of Ice presents a fascinating new take on Antarctic exploration. Retold with added information, it's the first book to place the famed voyages of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, his British rivals Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton, and others in a larger scientific, social, and geopolitical context. Efficient, well prepared, and focused solely on the goal of getting to his destination and back, Amundsen has earned his place in history as the first to reach the South Pole. Scott, meanwhile, has been reduced in the public mind to a dashing incompetent who stands for little more than relentless perseverance in the face of inevitable defeat.
An Empire of Ice offers a new perspective on the Antarctic expeditions of the early 20th century by looking at the British efforts for what they actually were: massive scientific enterprises in which reaching the South Pole was but a spectacular sideshow. By focusing on the larger purpose, Edward Larson deepens our appreciation of the explorers' achievements, shares little-known stories, and shows what the Heroic Age of Antarctic discovery was really about.
©2011 Edward J. Larson (P)2011 Tantor
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Critic reviews

"Larson succeeds in [his] approach to the popular subject of polar exploration by wrapping the science in plenty of dangerous drama to keep readers engaged." ( Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By John Rodsted on 31-03-14


This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

No one. It is rubbish

What was most disappointing about Edward J. Larson’s story?

It is poorly researched and full of inaccuracies. Dates, Places, Distance are massively wrong in so many places. These are not small mistakes but problems that change the scope of the story. Shackleton made it to 87 degrees on Nimrod, not 82. Scott only got to 82 degrees years earlier. The Fram expedition ended in Spitzbergen, it did not begin there etc and so it goes on.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narration was ok

What character would you cut from An Empire of Ice?

Do some research first, lots of research.

Any additional comments?

Do not waste your time or money on this.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By margaret on 18-02-16

Story good, narrator not so

Good factual information. Narrator was most irritating with a very fake British accent, really annoying. There are recordings of most Antarctic explorers from that era and accents can be easily checked.

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