Magazine article American Scientist

Two Antarctic Tales

Magazine article American Scientist

Two Antarctic Tales

Article excerpt

Two Antarctic Tales ANTARCTICA: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent. Gabrielle Walker, xxiv + 388 pp. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. $27.

SECRETS OF THE ICE: Antarctica's Clues to Climate, the Universe, and the Limits of Life. Veronica Meduna. vi + 225 pp. Yale University Press/ Auckland University Press, 2012. $40.

If you, like me, have wished, hoped, tried and failed to find a way to visit Antarctica, Gabrielle Walker's Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent may be the next best thing. Unlike the numerous tomes that provide a tourist's eye view or a historical recounting, Walker tells in rich detail what it's like to survive and do science on the only continent never inhabited by human beings. She spends time with dozens of investigators, revealing both their work and the inner workings of their minds. By dividing the book into geographic chapters, each opened with a map, Walker offers a diverse sampling of the seventh continent and the science done there. …

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