Press:Random House Inc National Geographic; First Edition edition (September 1, 2003)
Author Name:Matthiessen, Peter/ Byers, Stephen
The author recounts his voyage through the islands around Antarctica, describing the region's wildlife as well as the region itself while sharing historical information about the pioneers and adventurers who preceded him.
The grand master of the purposeful and philosophical nature-oriented travelogue, Matthiessen chronicles the attainment of a lifelong dream in his eighteenth work of nonfiction: two voyages to Antarctica.
The first time out, Matthiessen and company explore the coast of South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula, where he is enthralled by the grace and fortitude of albatrosses and petrels, stalwart chin-strap penguins, and stoic seals.
Contemplation of these amazing creatures leads to ruminations over our species' crimes against them, just as his poetic marveling over the majestic beauty of icebergs and their enshrinement of "bubbles of pure ancient air" and "the last uncontaminated water on the planet's surface" leads to strongly stated objections to the U.S.
government's failure to combat global warming.
On his second voyage, this time aboard a polar icebreaker, Matthiessen visits emperor penguin breeding colonies, a phenomenon few ornithologists have witnessed, and describes with arresting lyricism the spiritual cleansing one experiences in this pristine, wind-scoured kingdom of ice.
Vivid and empathic accounts of the high drama and petty rivalries of Antarctic exploration alternate with Matthiessen's own adventures as he shares his indelible impressions of this cold, white wonderland in the hope that they will inspire readers to appreciate the beauty and bounty of the earth's "shimmering web of biodiversity" enough to defend and preserve it.
Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association.
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