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The Entire Earth and Sky

Views on Antarctica

Leslie Carol Roberts

Publication Year: 2008

More than a distant continent, Antarctica is a land of the imagination, shaping and shaped for centuries by explorers, adventurers, scientists, and dreamers. The Entire Earth and Sky conjures all these ideas and interweaves them with the experience and history of Antarctica, balancing the reality of the frigid outpost populated by a ragtag alliance of international researchers against the crystalline dreamscape of a continent at the bottom of the world.
When Leslie Carol Roberts went to Antarctica for the first time with Greenpeace, she was hoping to save the world. In the twenty years since then she has shifted to the no less difficult task of saving Antarctica itself, compiling memoirs and stories, learning the biology and geography of the icy land, and documenting her own journey. This book pieces together the tragic and heroic tales of nineteenth-century exploration, interviews with scientists, and the author’s personal observations. The result is a remarkable collage that evokes the beauty and the complexity, the perils and the rewards of a lifelong engagement with the earth’s last wilderness. A kaleidoscope of legends, stories, field notes, images, reports, history, letters, and research, the book renders an impression, at once vast and microscopic, of the effect of human beings on the land and ice we call Antarctica, and its effect on us.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

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An Antarctican Gazetteer

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pp. xvii-xxviii

Please note: The details and facts, circumstances and encounters included in this list came together over time with the help, swiftness, and assurance of my children, Will and Helena, provisional Antarctic...


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pp. xxix-xxxii

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The Continent and Its History

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pp. 1-20

Antarctica is well worth reading about. It is not a commonplace continent, but on the contrary is in all ways remarkable. The Antarctic continent is the fifth largest of the seven-the others being Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, South America,...

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The Greatest Antarctic Story of All Time (A Note)

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pp. 21-27

When Frank Arthur Worsley picked up the chronometer on Easter Monday, 1916, the fate of twenty-eight men lay in his skill as a navigator. Luckily for the men of Ernest Shackleton's Endurance expedition, Worsley was a brilliant...

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pp. 29-55

I sailed to Antarctica with a group of people who wanted to save the world. The world, in this case, meant Antarctica's ice-shrouded 5.4-million-square miles, a crystalline fortress separated from the known or temperate world by a ring of...

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pp. 57- 75

On a cold April morning, I was about to set myself free, bound for the Antarctic shore in a small inflatable boat, leaving behind our rotund black, white, and ocher research ship where I had lived for the past three and a half months...

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pp. 77-91

Fifteen years after Baden and I first met in the Lyttelton Museum, I phoned him from my Iowa home. My own Antarctic explorations had been moving slowly forward during those years, the lure of that landscape propelling me to quit...

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pp. 93-114

James "Scotty" Paton had killed the penguin that met me when I walked into the Lyttelton Museum's Polar Gallery. Its weirdly thin neck reminded me that while some things are easy to master under the Antarctic's tough conditions...

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pp. 115-131

Driving into town from Lyttelton (as Lytteltonians say when going to Christchurch), cars and huge trucks bearing timber from the west coast zoom through a beige, shiny-tiled tunnel, cut through steep hills descending to...

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pp. 133-144

I slept curled in a rectangle of white light, watched by the bellbirds and gulls flying in a wide, clear Lyttelton sky. I had dozed off 180 million years ago, in the deep time of geologic stories, the rocks underfoot and towering above slipping in...

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pp. 145-158

All expeditions begin as idea and then become list-a series of related words arranged in an order- and Antarcticans deploy their lists as structure, guideline, lifeline. Each story I found and read and considered became a square of orange...

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pp. 159-172

On what often passed for a summer's day in Christchurch, wind ripping up from the south, Antarctic-cold, rattling windows and sending tree branches flying, I sat sipping coffee at my Gateway Antarctica office, a stream of commentary...

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pp. 173-181

Prior to sailing to Antarctica, the bulk of my penguin contact came via cartoons: Chilly Willy and Tennessee Tuxedo and Opus. I've never been one for wildlife books or calendars, nor even for...

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pp. 183-197

It's just a mildewed book with a cracked spine, pages slipping free, glue long since gone to dust. The book rested on my desk, next to a cascading pile of 1950s era U.S. Navy pictures of Antarctica, many of which show airplanes looking like...

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pp. 199-221

In 1979, 257 people died when their plane crashed into the lower slopes of Mount Erebus. It was and is Antarctica's largest tragedy and at the time, one of the worst air disasters in history. The Air New Zealand dc-10 had been on a...

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pp. 223-241

In the New Zealand town of Akaroa, built by French and English settlers, a boy was born on a sun-filled morning in 1872. His name was Frank Arthur Worsley and he would sail all the oceans of the world. With mystical accuracy he learned the...

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pp. 243-270

Unknown to known, the march continued, and the tally looked like this, the North Pole had gone to the Americans, and the South Pole to the Norskies. No one had yet made a complete Antarctic map. No one knew what lay beyond the...

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pp. 271-282

It is April and I am about to set myself free. I sit in Bryan Storey's office at Gateway Antarctica and listen as he discusses global climate change. While I listen, I hold and read a paper titled...


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pp. 283-289

E-ISBN-13: 9780803267640
E-ISBN-10: 0803267649

Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 11 b/w photos
Publication Year: 2008