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Ends of the Earth (The ends of the earth #1)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  52 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The mystic Madame Blavatsky once envisaged a place "at the very circle of the Arctic Pole [where] a sea never freezes a continent is ever green." Today, thanks to exploration, we know better, but the reality is no less wondrous than what she dreamed. Elizabeth Kolbert and Francis Spufford's literary anthology encompasses the spectrum of North and South Pole writing: first- ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2007)
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This fascinating book is an anthology of writings about the Arctic and the Antarctic. Most of the writings are nonfiction, but some are fiction. The author, Elizabeth Kolbert, is really the editor. She wrote a paragraph introduction to each chapter, which helped put the writing into perspective.

Many of the writings were essentially excerpts from diaries of explorers, as they attempted to reach the poles. These diaries are amazing--they detail the incredible hardships that explorers went through
Pure escapism without turning my brain to jelly. These explorers were the first extreme sportsmen, hauling hundreds of pounds of gear over a vast, frozen, unknown landscape, spending 7 sunless weeks stuck in a tent with their comrades. After reading a few excerpts from journals of these explorers, I feel like such a wuss wearing socks to bed when they'd crawled into frozen sleeping bags for a restless night of teeth-chattering. How and why did these guys do what they did, a hundred-plus years ag ...more
Ira Therebel
Just like the book about Antarctic that I just read and reviewed, this book about Antarctic is extraordinary.

An excellent collection that shows us Arctic in different times, when the early discoverers were going to the Pole to today's global warming struggles, and from different sides. We get to read some great fiction writers such as Jack London and Jules Verne and mainly non fiction written by people who went there. Diaries of discoverers, an analysis of a possibility of a murder during an ex
My good friend and colleague Donna got me hooked on the idea of reading about cold places during our hot Texas summers. I've always been interested in exploration in general, and summer is the perfect time to be reading about frostbite, glaciers, penguins and polar bears.

The Ends of the Earth is two anthologies of essays about the Arctic and the Antarctic, each collected by separate editors.I believe this also appears in a 2-volume boxed version, but the edition I read had them back-to-back -- o
I've been meaning to start reading about the Arctic/Antarctic for a while. My research has been hampered by the fact that I didn't know where to start (despite the Idiot's Guide sitting on my bookshelf) and just plain laziness. But when I saw this book in Barnes & Nobles' Holiday Catalogue, I knew I had to have it. I marched to the store, found there only copy, and then debated: it's a hard cover, do I really want a hard cover? Then, a magical thing happened: I flipped the book over, and the ...more
Robin Harvey
Fantastic anthology; led me down the rabbit holes, most notably my (not-so) mild obsession with Rockwell Kent.
Had to return to the library before I had finished even half of it.

This was not a subject I was previously interested in, but picked up the book on a whim thinking that it might offer some surprises. There were plenty of intriguing little stories inside, but I think a longer-format description of these arctic and antarctic adventurers would be more satisfying. Good for an introduction.

Also learned: don't think I'm that fond of Jules Verne, after reading an excerpt of his that's included.
I liked the selections from Antartica better than those from The Artic. Perhaps because I read about the southern Pole first? Perhaps the editor, Spofford, had an angle on subject more enjoyable to me than Kolbert, the editor for the North?
Both North and South were mind-expanding reading, though I could have done without the inclusion of the H.P. Lovecraft (which despite what I've said about enjoying the Antartic selections more, did appear in Spofford's selections).
John Benson
I read this book along with its companion book, THE ANTARCTIC: AN ANTHOLOGY. It includes many good writings by early explorers and then includes different pieces of writing from fiction writers who lived in or north of the Arctic Circle and writers on the issues of the day that affect the Arctic. Both are good reads.
Alex Miller
A great compilation of stories from the Arctic, ranging from the bold/crazy folks who set out to explore it in the early days to the dismaying level of threats from the modern world threatening the entire region and its people.
Christopher Roth
I would have given it five stars if it had included some excerpts from Edgar Allen Poe's Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. It would have fit nicely with the Lovecraft passages on Antarctica.
I picked this up from the library on a whim. It contains short excerpts, so far all from the journals of explorers, on experiences and adventures in the arctic/antarctic.
Aug 21, 2011 Einar marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Finished the Antarctic book - some fantastic pieces of travel writing. Will get on to the Arctic one soon...
note: I only read the half about Antarctica. the Arctic doesn't interest me as much.
I love reading about very cold places.
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Elizabeth Kolbert is a staff writer at The New Yorker. She is the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change and The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband and children.
More about Elizabeth Kolbert...

Other Books in the Series

The ends of the earth (2 books)
  • The Antarctic: An Anthology
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