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Emperors of the Ice: A True Story of Disaster and Survival in the Antarctic, 1910-13

by Richard Farr

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008
217 pages
ISBN: 978-0374319755

Ages 12 and older

Podcast featuring this book

When Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard was 23 years old, he was chosen from a pool of 8,000 applicants to accompany a small band of men led by Robert F. Scott on an expedition to the Antarctic. Wealthy, Oxford-educated Cherry possessed no special skill or ability to make him an outstanding candidate for the journey, yet over the course of the next three years the youngest member of the team proved himself capable of not only enduring extreme conditions but substantially contributing to the group’s accomplishments and survival. Extensive research lends a solid factual backdrop to Richard Farr’s fictionalized account of the journey from Cherry’s imagined perspective. Named Assistant Zoologist, Cherry and two other men spent a month trekking from Cape Evans camp to the winter nesting area of the Emperor penguins, in an attempt to collect unhatched eggs for study. Vivid descriptions of temperatures dipping to -70° F. and below and Force 11 winds draw readers into the Antarctic landscape of Cherry’s experience. Later, he is a member of the group that supports Scott’s attempt to reach the Pole, but is not selected as one of five men to make the last fatal push southward. Frequent photographs and illustrations complement this thoroughly engaging novel of exploration, which includes a clear chronology and source notes. (MVL) ©2008 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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