Antarctica: An encyclopedia from Abbott Ice Shelf to Zooplankton
Edited by Mary Trewby
David Bateman Ltd
ISBN: 1 86953 453 0
During thirty years' filming in the Antarctic, award-winning documentary
company Natural History New Zealand Ltd has amassed vast experience
and knowledge of the continent. Together with an impressive list of
consultant editors the company has produced this handsome volume that
no polar enthusiast or school library should be without.
The 3-column layout is clear and uncluttered, easily navigable with
its blue headwords for each entry and cross-references denoted by small
caps. The photographs are, as one would expect from NHNZ, superb and
many have been sourced from other archives and collections as well as
Aimed at readers of all ages, there are over 1,000 entries and 250
photographs covering climate, conservation, explorers, geology, natural
history, exploration, science and tourism. Even scientific stations
and bases are included, and countries with an interest in Antarctica.
I was intrigued to find entries such as Air crashes, Artists, Fire,
Graves, Motor cars, Philately, Red snow and Vocabulary. Particularly
pleasing was the entry on Women, though it didn't mention how late the
British Antarctic Survey was in allowing female staff to go south. One
entry that made me laugh was the 300 Club, which I didn't know existed
and have no desire to join!
The reasons behind place names has always fascinated me, and some are
explained here though by no means all. Dronning Maude Land is not fully
explained but Queen Maude Mountains is; Bismark Strait and Lambert Glacier
are not, but Ekström Ice Shelf, Enderby Land and Ferrar Glacier
are. There is an entry for the explorer O.G. Nordenskjöld, but
no mention of the glacier named after him. I am sure there is good reason
for this and no harsh criticism is intended - personally, I would not
like to be responsible for this project as I know how much hard work
and detail it requires.
Something I would like to have seen is a glossary or at least cross-references
to abbreviations such as ASOC and GARP, even if they were just included
in the index.
This is a fine encyclopedia, endorsed by the New Zealand Antarctic
Institute, and certainly a valuable addition to my bookshelf. There
is just one serious omission: the Polar Worlds website (well, as the
book was printed just before my website was launched I'll let them off
the hook this time).
To order copies direct from NHNZ e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by S.G. Servian