Ordeal by Ice: Ships of the Antarctic

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Surrounded by hazardous seas and pitiless ice, Antarctica was first sighted by Europeans less than three centuries ago. Since then, hundreds of ships have voyaged around that continent, challenged by poorly charted waters, storms, pack ice, icebergs and disease. This comprehensive and richly illustrated book tells the story of these ships and the expeditions they supported, from the fifteenth-century fleets of the Ming Emperors of China to today's tourist ships and powerful icebrakers. From extensive research, the author draws all these stories into one comprehensive record. Familiar names such as Terra Nova and Endurance feature with unfamiliar but equally important ships, while tales of heroic seamanship, like Captain John Briscoe's extraordinary 1830-32 circumnavigation in the tiny Tula, or Shackleton's voyage in the James Caird, illustrate the horrendous conditions that sailors and explorers faced. Plans, photos, paintings and maps enhance a highly authoritative and readable text that will appeal to polar historians, adventurers, armchair travellers, ship enthusiasts and visitors to Antarctica. It will fill an important gap in polar literature and is destined to become the reference book on the ships of the Antarctic as well as a superb and concise history of Antarctic exploration.