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The Heart of the Antarctic
  • 103739
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The Heart of the Antarctic

Being the story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–1909. With an Introduction by Hugh Robert Mill, D.Sc. An Account of the First Journey to the South Magnetic Pole by Professor T. W. Edgeworth David, F.R.S.

Published: London: William Heinemann, 1909

Stock code: 103739

Price: £8,500

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First edition. Shackleton’s account of the British Antarctic Expedition of 1907–9 (Nimrod), reviewed on publication by the Manchester Guardian as “the best book of Polar travel which has ever been written”. The sledge expedition “to the south magnetic pole was one of the three foremost achievements of this expedition. The other two achievements were, first, the ascent and survey of Mount Erebus (12,448 feet), the active volcano on Ross Island and, second, the southern sledge journey, which reached within 100 miles of the south pole” (ODNB). The expedition established Shackleton as a “bona fide English hero,” but the success of the book did little to alleviate “the financial problems left to him by the expedition” (Books on Ice). Sir Raymond Priestley (1886–1974), a British Geologist and Antarctic explorer who accompanied Shackleton on the 1907–1913 Antarctic expeditions, said, “For scientific leadership, give me Scott; for swift and efficient travel, Amundsen; but when you are in a hopeless situation, when there seems to be no way out, get on your knees and pray for Shackleton”. Rosove notes “dust-jackets are very scarce”.

2 volumes, large octavo. Original blue pictorial cloth, front covers with large silver block, spines lettered gilt, top edges gilt, others uncut. With the drab paper, typographical dust jackets, Rosove’s No.1 without the pricing details. Photogravure frontispiece to each volume, 12 captioned tissue-guarded coloured, and 255 black and white other plates in all, 3 maps, panorama in end-pocket of volume II, and numerous illustrations and diagrams throughout. Without the errata slip in volume II. Light damping at the fore-edge of all boards, the silver blocks to the front boards slightly oxidised as always, frontispieces browned verso, light browning else, foxing to the fore-edges, the jackets a touch rubbed, minor chipping and splitting at the heads of the spines, small hole to the lower panel of that of volume II, but overall very good set indeed, entirely unrestored.

Bibliography: Books on Ice 7.4; Rosove 305.B1b; Spence 1097; Taurus 58.

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