This stunning and powerfully relevant book tells the history of Antarctica through 100 varied and fascinating objects drawn from collections around the world.
Retracing the history of Antarctica through 100 varied and fascinating objects drawn from collections across the world, this beautiful and absorbing book is published to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the first crossing into the Antarctic Circle by James Cook aboard Resolution, on 17th January 1773. It presents a gloriously visual history of Antarctica, from Terra Incognita to the legendary expeditions of Shackleton and Scott, to the frontline of climate change.
One of the wildest and most beautiful places on the planet, Antarctica has no indigenous population or proprietor. Its awe-inspiring landscapes – unknown until just two centuries ago – have been the backdrop to feats of human endurance and tragedy, scientific discovery, and environmental research. Sourced from polar institutions and collections around the world, the objects that tell the story of this remarkable continent range from the iconic to the exotic, from the refreshingly mundane to the indispensable:
- snow goggles adopted from Inuit technology by Amundsen
- the lifeboat used by Shackleton and his crew
- a bust of Lenin installed by the 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition
- the Polar Star aircraft used in the first trans-Antarctic flight
- a sealing club made from the penis bone of an elephant seal
- the frozen beard as a symbol of Antarctic heroism and masculinity
- ice cores containing up to 800,000 years of climate history
This stunning book is both endlessly fascinating and a powerful demonstration of the extent to which Antarctic history is human history, and human future too.
About the Author
Jean de Pomereu is a Research Fellow at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. His research spans the history of Antarctic science, exploration and visual culture. He has participated in many scientific and artistic expeditions to Antarctica.
Daniella McCahey is an Assistant Professor in British History at Texas Tech University. Her research includes the history of geology and geophysics in Antarctica, gender histories in Antarctic research stations and histories of Antarctic botany and volcanology.
“Like Antarctica itself, this 'History in 100 Objects' is unpredictable and compelling. Generous - yet partial, skidding over vast surfaces, digging into detail. Read it all at once: or select at leisure.” —Meredith Hooper
“From the Aurora Australis to the weather balloon, authors Daniella McCahey and Jean de Pomereu have assembled a beautifully curated collection of objects pertaining to Antarctica. As they note, so poignantly, Antarctica is not one thing.” —Klaus Dodds
“Reading this book is like being in a very large polar museum with two expert and amusing companions as your guides. Compiled by a historian and an artist, Antarctica: A History in 100 Objects takes its reader on a tour of human engagement with the far south that is by turns educative, playful, poignant, ridiculous and disturbing, but always knowledgeably explained and illustrated. While some objects might be readily anticipated (sledges, diaries, maps), others will likely be a surprise (a canary, a wedding dress, a nuclear reactor). Ranging in scale from ships to krill-oil capsules, encompassing both the other-worldly (a meteorite) and the mundane (soap, a T-shirt), the objects demonstrate the national and cultural diversity of human encounter with the ice continent. While the book skips with delightful eclecticism between different periods, put together the object descriptions comprise a well-rounded introduction to the issues and events that have shaped human encounter with the far south. Readers who know little about the place will find it an excellent way into the continent, and 'Antarctic tragics' will enjoy the unexpected and sometimes surreal details that accompany every object.” —Elizabeth Leane
“Jean de Pomereu and Daniellie McCahey's handsome survey takes in the world's most remote region...illustrating in colour not just the selected objects, but accompanying painting, photographs and further examples." - The Telegraph
"Tells the story of Antarctica through 100 objects from collections around the world...fascinating." - Daily Mirror
"De Pomereu and McCahey's handsomely illustrated work examines the history of Antarctic expedition through famous and lesser-known objects. From crevasse detectors...to the whale skeleton assembled by conservationist Jacques Cousteau...it's filled with fascinating snapshots." - Hannah Beckerman, The Observer
"a gloriously visual history of the White Continent" - Wanderlust
"This stunning and powerfully relevant book tells the history of Antarctica through 100 varied and fascinating objects drawn from collections around the world." - Smithsonian Magazine
"Jean de Pomereu and Daniella McCahey captured a marvelous overview of the history and environment of one of the world’s most unique locations in Antarctica: A History in 100 Objects. This captivating book is filled with fascinating images, each with its own unique story to tell about this engaging subject." - The Culture Buzz
"a novel approach at showcasing Antarctica’s history" - People's Friend
"The 250th anniversary of the first documented crossing of the Antarctic circle is being marked with a new book that traces the continent's history via 100 artefacts from around the world." - New Scientist
"Great photos and fascinating text make this a wonderful book for those who’ve been there and for those who still have Antarctica on their bucket list." - Penny A Parrish, The Free-Lance Star