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Publisher's Summary

Mawson's Will is the dramatic story of what Sir Edmund Hillary calls "the most outstanding solo journey ever recorded in Antarctic history". For weeks in Antarctica, Douglas Mawson faced some of the most daunting conditions ever known to man: blistering wind, snow, and cold; loss of his companion, his dogs and supplies, the skin on his hands and the soles of his feet; thirst, starvation, disease, snowblindness - and he survived.

Sir Douglas Mawson is remembered as the young Australian who would not go to the South Pole with Robert Scott in 1911, choosing instead to lead his own expedition on the less glamorous mission of charting nearly 1,500 miles of Antarctic coastline and claiming its resources for the British Crown. His party of three set out through the mountains across glaciers in 60-mile-per-hour winds. Six weeks and 320 miles out, one man fell into a crevasse, along with the tent, most of the equipment, all of the dogs' food, and all except a week's supply of the men's provisions.

Mawson's Will is the unforgettable story of one man's ingenious practicality and unbreakable spirit and how he continued his meticulous scientific observations even in the face of death. When the expedition was over, Mawson had added more territory to the Antarctic map than anyone else of his time. Thanks to Bickel's moving account, Mawson can be remembered for the vision and dedication that make him one of the world's great explorers.

©2000 Lennard Bickel (P)2011 Steerforth Press LLC

Critic Reviews

"A riveting account... makes Mawson's achievement a symbol of the desire to live." ( The New York Times Book Review)
"A powerful reading experience." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Brutal, savage, raw..... and extraordinary!

One of the best accounts of early Antarctic exploration I've come across . A graphic and brutal story taken from Mawson''s personal dairy. Narration was good but, at times, seemed out of step with such a torturous and brutal story (imo). I mean it was good narration but, at times, voice and style just didn't seem harsh enough for what was actually taking place in the story. Nonetheless, it was a fantastic audio book and I would recommend it to anyone who's looking for a true account of what exploration was truly like at the beginning of the 19th century.

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Would that every high school kid reads it

Mawson was a stud and hero by any stretch, but the brutal truth is that this is a study in how to fail. Almost as tragic as Captain Scott's haphazardly planned failure, Mawson's was similar.
To truly understand and appreciate this story, one should also listen to "The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen" by Stephen R. Bown. Say what we will about Amundsen, but his entire life of hair-raising adventures were meticulously planned and laser-focused "how-to" successes.
But no matter, listen to this story. You will love it.

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Brutal account of survival! Not for sissies!!

Gripping story. Make our American life seem trivial in comparison. If you need to toughen up, proceed.

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yup it was great

great story. incredible survival. I audibly gasped several times at the trials that had to be overcome.

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Mawson's Will of IRON!

I love books about arctic adventure. They are hard books to love. I have a tremendous aversion to cold, I hate to experience human suffering, even vicariously. I have a hard time understanding people who put their loved ones through the accompanying anxiety and deprivation. I find them, however, inspiring and illuminating. The human spirit leaves me awestruck time and again.

I like to listen to books while I knit. But I am LIVID when the performer mispronounces words! And I cannot believe there isn't a better editing method of insertions, when I can detect every.single.one. And why oh why did this performer insist on setting off quotations by saying, "Quote...unquote." DUH! The listener can tell it's a quote, especially if a slightly differing tone is used for them, a technique used by many performers. It was beyond annoying and did not do justice to this amazing story.

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Classic story of grueling survival in the Antarctic

I read this story about Antarctic survival many years ago, and found it absolutely captivating. I just listened to it on audiobook and once again appreciated the comfort and leisure of my own life while having the privilege of listening to a story by a truly great explorer. It really is one of the greatest survival stories ever told.

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Worthwhile read

Really enjoyed this book--so much so that I convinced my book club to read it as well. We had a fine discussion!