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Innocents in the Dry Valleys: An Account of the Victoria University of Wellington Antarctic Expedition, 1958-59

Biography / Memoir

By: Colin Bull (Author), Eddie Robertson (Foreword By), Peter Barrett (Introduction By)

267 pages, 88 colour & b/w photos and b/w illustrations, 1 colour & 1 b/w fold-out map

University of Alaska Press

Paperback | Mar 2010 | #229754 | ISBN-13: 9781602230712
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £17.50 $21/€20 approx

About this book

In the summer of 1958, physicist Colin Bull, along with a biologist and two undergraduate geology students from Victoria University of Wellington, launched an exploration of the Dry Valleys of Victoria Land, Antarctica – the first of what has become an annual expedition spanning the past fifty years. With Innocents in Dry Valleys Bull recounts the story of that first, shoestring expedition, bringing a dry wit – and a clear appreciation of youthful bravado – to accounts of adverse conditions, recurrent dangers, funding snafus, and bureaucratic meddling. Innocents in Dry Valleys is a winning account of a landmark expedition, sure to interest scientists and armchair explorers alike.

"Bull's author description leads off saying he is a "geophysicist, glaciologist and cook" – and that "cook" is no idle mention in a book where eating features frequently, right from the opening of the first chapter: "Oh damn the calorie count! What we're going to need is food." Where so many academics bleed the human out of their writing, Bull has gone to great lengths to ensure the opposite. He can overdo his exclamation marks and quips, but Innocents in the Dry Valley is never a dry read as it combines the scientific aspects of the expedition with a real sense of adventure, Kiwi can-do, camaraderie and comic irreverence."
The Listener (New Zealand)



Foreword, by Dr Eddie Robertson
Introduction, by Dr Peter Barrett
Author's note
Dramatis Personae

Chapter 1.    An idea
Chapter 2.    Loife in Noo Zillun
Chapter 3.    Dear Sir, I write on behalf...
Chapter 4.    Go. No, stop!  No, go!  Scott Base
Chapter 5.    Landed gentry
Chapter 6.    An enigmatic lake and a remarkable saga
Chapter 7.    A trip to the seaside
Chapter 8.    And the walk back 'home' again
Chapter 9.    Alone for a short while, maybe
Chapter 10.  The End.  Wait for the applause!
Chapter 11.  Aftermath

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Colin Bull is a geophysicist who served as a senior lecturer in physics at Victoria University and later was the director of the Institute of Polar Studies at Ohio State University.

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