There have been many books about Antarctica in the past, but all have focused on only one aspect of the continent – its science, its wildlife, the heroic age of exploration, personal experiences or the sheer awesome beauty of the landscape, for example – but none has managed to capture the whole story, till now.
Gabrielle Walker, author, consultant to New Scientist, and regular broadcaster with the BBC, has written a book unlike any that has ever been written about the continent. Antarctica weaves all the significant threads into an intricate tapestry, made up of science, natural history, poetry, epic history, what it feels like to be there, and why it draws so many different kinds of people back again and again. It is only when all the parts come together that the underlying truths of the continent emerge.
Antarctica is the most alien place on Earth, the only part of our planet where humans could never survive unaided. It is truly like walking on another planet. And yet, in its silence, its agelessness and its mysteries lie the secrets of our past, and of our future.
Gabrielle Walker has a PhD in chemistry from Cambridge University and has taught at both Cambridge and Princeton universities. She is a consultant to New Scientist, contributes frequently to BBC radio and writes for many newspapers and magazines. In 2009 she presented BBC Radio 4's Planet Earth Under Threat and in 2011, Thin Air, a series about the earth's atmosphere. She lives in London.