HEART OF THE ANTARCTIC: Being the Story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909

(London: William Heinemann, 1909).

SCARCE FIRST EDITION OF SHACKLETON’S FAMOUS 2-YEAR EXPEDITION AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT WORK IN THE ANTARCTIC OEUVRE. Shackleton’s narrative of the “Nimrod” voyage and expedition of 1907-1909 is not only one of the classics of Polar exploration, but a great read in its own right. Shackleton had three goals for the mission and divided the company into three groups: one would set out to reach the Pole, another to plant a flag at the South Magnetic Pole, and the third to explore the Ross Barrier. This ambitious program was kept faithfully in the foreground, and although it was not possible to fulfill every detail of it, the mission is regarded as a a triumphant success.
“Men go out into the void spaces of the world for various reasons. Some are incited simply by a love of adventure, some have a keen thirst for scientific knowledge, and others are drawn away from trodden paths by the “lure of little voices,” the mysterious fascination of the unknown. I think that in my own case it was a combination of these factors that determined me to try my fortune once again in the frozen south...
“The DISCOVERY expedition [1901-1903] had brought back a great store of information, and had performed splendid service in several important branches of science. I believed that a second expedition could carry the work still further. ...The southern limits of the Great Ice Barrier plain had not been defined... It was important to the scientific world that information should be gained regarding the movement of the ice-sheet that forms the Barrier. Then I wanted to discover what lay beyond the mountains to the south of latitude 82 17’ and whether the Antarctic continent rose to a plateau similar to the one found by Captain Scott beyond the western mountains.” Shackleton goes on to discuss the possibilities for discoveries in the fields of meteorology, zoology, mineralogy and general geology, atmospheric electricity, tidal movements, hydrography, etc. The work as a whole touches upon all these fields and more, providing an extensive account of Shackleton’s Antarctic adventure from the preparation and supplies to accounts of daily travel and discovery. An excellent copy of this increasingly scarce set. Item #26856

2 volumes. First edition. Portrait frontispiece, 12 color plates, numerous black and white plates, 3 maps and panoramas in rear pocket. Tall, thick 8vo, publisher’s original dark blue cloth with silver pictorial vignette and lettering on upper covers, spine lettered in gilt, t.e.g. xlviii, 371; xv, 419 (including extensive appendices, index). A very good and handsome set. The spine panels with some minimal mellowing and a bit of light wear at the head and tail of each volume.

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Price: $1,425.00