Review Blog

Jun 25 2013

Ice, wind, rock: Douglas Mawson in the Antarctic by Peter Gouldthorpe

cover image

Lothian, 2013. ISBN 978 0 7344 1155 6
(Age: 8+) Warmly recommended. Picture book. Non fiction. Antarctic. Heroism. Subtitled, Douglas Mawson in the Antarctic, and with an illustration of the man looking out from the front cover, readers picking up this book will immediately recognise that this is the tale of one of Australia's foremost scientists, explorers and heroes. A brief few words at the start of the book place him at the University of Adelaide where he is the lecturer of Geology and his interest in rocks lures him to a place where glacial activity is obvious. So begins his wonder at the Antarctic wildness, and the first expedition to the Antarctic in 1908 as a member of Shackleton's expedition.
This is a fascinating account of a man who is seen on the $100 note, but for many is simply a name they know. The book gives a brief outline of his interest in and expeditions to the Antarctic, and whets the appetite to find out more.
An insert in the book giving publication details, curiously gives a fascinating and informative time-line, so for those people purchasing this book, do not throw away this seemingly unimportant piece of paper, as the book itself contains no time-line and few dates are given to fix the details in a timeframe.
The illustrations certainly bring the icey world of the southern continent to life, ensuring any reader will be in no doubt about its inhospitable nature, the courage and strength of those who venture there, and the dangers which befell them. For someone new to the story, for introducing young readers to the heroism displayed by this man, this book is a wonderfully lively introduction, and I'm sure would be a stepping stone to find out more.
Fran Knight

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