Books for Mature Teens and Adults

Theme: Antarctica

Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole - (ISBN: 0786886994)

by Maryanne Vollers Jerri Nielsen

This book details Jerri Nielsen’s personal battle with breast cancer when she herself is the physician at a base in snowed-in Antarctica and her personal and spiritual triumphs over her divorce and estrangement from her family. Follow Jerri’s story in detail, as she does her own breast biopsy and begins her own round of chemotherapy to combat a virulent form of breast cancer. Get the insider’s view of what the practice of medicine is like in an isolated and medically austere location as the practitioner is also the patient.

Ice Reich - (ISBN: 978-0446607445)

by William Dietrich

A World War II thriller features a poorly planned Nazi expedition to the South Pole to find resources to help win the war. Plenty of romance, ice crashes, ventures into uncharted territory, and an encounter with a deadly virus will keep you turning pages. Will the Nazi plan to export the killing disease work? Although the Third Reich did actually sponsor a trip to the South Pole, this fictionalized account packs in more excitement and mystery than non-fiction accounts of their Antarctic explorations.

Just Tell Them I Survived: Women in Antarctica - (ISBN: 978-1865083827)

by Robin Burns

The author interviews hundreds of women who journey to Antarctica, whether as spouses or girl friends or as women explorers, technicians, and scientists. Although they face the same isolation and weather difficulties, their challenges also include prejudice, harassment, lack of privacy, and pressure to be “as good as the guys.” What would appeal to a woman in such a harsh climate? What special qualities do the women in this book seem to exhibit?

Terra Antarctica: Looking into the Emptiest Continent - (ISBN: 978-1593761486)

by William L. Fox

Told from the unique point of view of a psychologist who studies the effects of vast emptiness on the human mind and the illusions the snow and climate creates, this book details the author’s journey to the South Pole. He tells how he came to understand the creations of map makers, painters, and photographers as they confronted this bleak but beautiful landscape. Indeed, this book is a probing look at how artists combat cognitive dissonance and mirages and turn them into works of art. Try looking at a bad weather day or a desolate scene from multiple points of view until you find meaning and beauty in what you see.

The Antarctic Dictionary: A Complete Guide to Antarctic English - (ISBN: 978-0957747111)

by Bernadette Hince

Take a look at the vocabulary differences and newly-coined words of the South Pole. South Pole language provides a different slant on the world of scientific observation and unique animal life at this exotic spot. What has “poles apart” come to mean? What words, coined out of necessity in Antarctica, have made it into mainstream American English?

The Ferocious Summer: Adelie Penguins and the Warming of Antarctica - (ISBN: 978-1553653691)

by Meredith Hooper

This brand new book is an account of the summer Hooper spent observing the Adelie penguins around Palmer Station in Antarctica. She sees the results of climate warming on the conditions and wildlife there. Her observations, combined with excerpts from diaries and interviews, provide a compelling account of the real impact of global warming. How do the changes in the lives of the penguins reflect wider climactic upheaval?

The Last Place on Earth - (ISBN: 978-0375754746)

by Roland Huntford

Written by master biographer Roland Huntford, this book takes readers along on Robert Scott’s ill-fated trek to Antarctica in his competition with Roald Amundsen. Carefully researched with the help of the largely-unused Norwegian diaries left by Amundsen’s crew, this text explores the question of why Scott’s journey and death had more appeal in popular culture than Amundsen’s accomplishments. An adventure story and a historical document explaining the passions of the polar exploration era, this book has great appeal to a wide variety of readers.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Arctic and Antarctic - (ISBN: 978-1592570737)

by Jack Williams

The Worst Journey in the World - (ISBN: 0786704373)

by Apsley Cherry-Garrard

Activities for this Theme

Imagine yourself on one of these journeys.


Read a research scientist’s blog about Antarctica.


See amazing photographs of an Antarctic passage


Follow the updates in an Antarctica newspaper.


Find quick facts to answer your Antarctica questions.


Enjoy the PBS DVD Alone on the Ice which explores the life and death of South Pole explorer Richard Byrd.