His two companions were dead, his food and supplies had vanished in a crevasse, and Douglas Mawson was still one hundred miles from camp. On January 17, 1913, alone and near starvation, Mawson, leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, was hauling a sledge to get back to base camp. The dogs were gone. Now Mawson himself plunged through a snow bridge, dangling over an abyss by the sledge harness. A line of poetry gave him the will to haul himself back to the surface. Mawson was sometimes reduced to crawling, and one night he discovered that the soles of his feet had completely detached from the flesh beneath. On February 8, when he staggered back to base, his features unrecognizably skeletal, the first teammate to reach him blurted out, "Which one are you?" This thrilling and almost unbelievable account establishes Mawson in his rightful place as one of the greatest polar explorers and expedition leaders.
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"Matthew Brenher lends a formal British voice to this descriptive story of the men who tried to conquer the Antarctic. He never crafts an accent for any of the characters, which seems right for the subject matter. The men always seem bent on maintaining as much civility as possible even in the worst of times, and BrenherÕs narration matches that professionalism. In graphic detail, based on diary accounts, the author describes the arduous journeysÑfrom the specific meals they ate to their own mental and physical well-being. The account is not for the faint of heart; conditions for the dogs, especially, were brutal. But Brenher keeps a steady voice as he takes the listener on the daunting expeditions. M.B. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine"
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