Antarctica is surrounded by some of the world’s most hazardous seas and was first sighted less than three centuries ago. Since then, hundreds of ships have voyaged in Antarctic waters, challenged by poorly charted waters, storms, pack ice, icebergs, and disease. This is the story of these ships – some specially designed, some plucked from obscurity – and the critical role they played in opening up the continent. With technical information, plans, photos, paintings and maps Rorke Bryan begins the detailed information about the ships – from the earliest sightings of the 15th century up to the tourist ships and sophisticated reinforced research vessels of today into a single comprehensive volume.
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Rorke Bryan has had a lifelong interest in Antarctica, triggered by seeing Scott of the Antarctic as an eight-year old in his native Dublin. The son of a merchant mariner, he has visited many parts of the world during his career with the British Antarctic Survey and in environmental conservation, forestry and development at the Universities of Alberta and Toronto. His interests include sailing, mountaineering and skiing.Review:
Bryan's text is delivered without padding and unnecessary verbiage; every cryptic sentence conveys an essential statement of fact. Even so, the book remains eminently readable, both for the general reader and specialist alike. It is most attractively presented - lavishly illustrated with hundreds of highly detailed deck plans, cross-sections, profiles, elevations, and rigging diagrams, many of them the original architect's plans unearthed from the archives and made accessible for the first time...Route maps are provided to indicate the tracks of the more important voyages, and appendices include a substantial glossary of nautical and technical terms, references to sources cited in the thoroughly footnoted text, and a massive bibliography of books and articles. At a price that will suit even the most shallow of pockets, Bryan's book provides a rare combination of appeal to the casual reader and exacting detail for the specialist. Unique in the field it embraces, it is an essential addition to any library of maritime history. (International Journal of Maritime History)
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