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The Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1953-58 organised by Sir Vivian Fuchs and Sir Edmund Hillary was one of the most successful exploits ever undertaken in Antarctica, but it has been largely forgotten for years. Seventy years later, The Crossing is the first to tell the complete story of this remarkable episode in the history of exploration – illustrated with photographs from the Royal Geographical Society, with the permission of the wife of expedition photographer George Lowe.
Sir Ernest Shackleton had tried unsuccessfully to cross the Antarctic in 1914. He called it the Last Great Journey, but he and his men escaped by the skin of their teeth. So the new post-war expedition was a brave attempt to conquer the vast frozen continent. For this historic endeavour, planning had to be done at each end of the World, in the UK and New Zealand, and members of the expedition were drawn from all around the Commonwealth.
The plan was meticulous, and the stakes were high: national, political and scientific interests all depended on its success. John Knight's account shows how the expedition was organised, from the scientific insight it relied on, to the voyage to Antarctica and transport intended to carry the men safely across the vast ice desert. Their survival at times was touch and go, and controversies arose amid the pressure of the journey. The Crossing not only provides a technical insight into a groundbreaking venture but touches on the human aspects of the challenge.
The Crossing charts a unique event in postwar history that has never before been the subject of a comprehensive account.
John Knight trained as a mechanical engineer and first became interested in the polar regions when as a student he accompanied a party of Geology undergraduates from Cambridge University on an expedition to Spitsbergen. This sparked a lifelong interest in the arctic and polar regions. Today he has a collection of over 500 books on the subject. His research for this book includes studying almost every volume ever written on the Trans Antarctic Expedition and visiting institutions such as the Royal Geographical Society in London. This is his first book and he is currently working on another expedition that travelled to the Antarctic in 1840.