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Geoscientist Online

The Continent of Antarctica

Dowdeswell AntarcticaMany years ago, when the great explorers Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton first stepped foot on the Antarctic continent it was all unknown. However, as the world developed and geological knowledge increased so did the exploration of this landscape, with maps being drawn up and ships traipsing through the icy seas.

When one ponders the wider world and the least explored continent on Earth, it may be a fantastic opportunity to pull this book from your shelf and become immediately inspired. Written by Julian Dowdeswell and Michael Hambrey, this book is a beautifully illustrated and provides a special look into what the relativity unknown continent is like. The reader is taken through all aspects, from the geography, to the sea life, to managing and working on the relatively mysterious landscape.

The book is full of photos, each one excellent in quality, with some taking up a two-page spread so that the reader can really feel immersed in the surroundings. It also includes illustrations, such as maps and paintings, to aid the descriptions. The number of pictures is just enough to leave the reader wanting more, if they so desire, yet would satisfy a reader who may have simply wanted to know more about Antarctica.

Each chapter is detailed, covering not just the geology and perhaps encouraging a reader wanting to know more about the geological processes behind the continent to research further and find more detailed geological volumes. However, for someone who wants to know everything there is about this continent at an introductory level, it is the perfect book to read.

The book also includes anecdotes from each author about their time on the continent, relating to the chapter at hand and aided by pictures so that you’re not simply reading a fact book about Antarctica, but a story that takes you there, wandering across the vast landscape yourself. The reader can imagine traversing the sea ice with your team to your base, whilst observing how animals interact from afar as waves crash against the coastline.

Antarctica is looked at from a global context down to the very details that make it what it is today. Dowdeswell and Hambrey draw from their own experiences, as well as those of their colleagues, putting everyone’s collective enjoyment of such a fantastic untouched land into an awe-inspiring book.

Reviewed by Eleanor Dunn

THE CONTINENT OF ANTARCTICA, by Julian Dowdeswell & Michael Hambrey, 2018. Published by: Papadakis Publisher 298pp. (hbk.) ISBN: 9781906506643 List Price: £35.00 W: