Remembrance of Things Past

Coffeetable Books

December 17, 1999:

Footsteps of the South Polar Explorers

by Graham Collier and Patricia Graham Collier

Carroll & Graf, 194 pp., $35

The modern would-be explorer is cursed: All the frontiers have been opened, the blank spots on the maps filled in, rivers and mountains named and inventoried, leaving only space travel -- but where's the joy in that? The clothes are goofy looking, and robots do it so much better. Luckily, we still have Antarctica, that alien, foreboding, incredibly beautiful and hostile spot at the bottom of the world. It's been explored and mapped but it will never be conquered. A man can go there and fear for his life every second. Antarctic Odyssey: In the Footsteps of the South Polar Explorers, by Graham and Patricia Collier, is a riveting rediscovery of Antarctica. The authors followed the paths of the great Antarctic explorers of the early 1900s -- men such as Shackleton, Amundsen, and Scott -- in what were undoubtedly the most dramatic and challenging explorations of this century. Patricia Collier's photographs of this landscape of über bleakness and its hardy inhabitants -- penguins, albatrosses, and leopard seals --- are pure eye candy, and the exploits essayed herein are soul food for the armchair explorer in the household. Go South, young man, Go South.

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