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Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle For Survival at the South Pole Reprint Edition

163 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0786886999
ISBN-10: 0786886994
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Serving as doctor to the Americans "wintering over" at the South Pole in 1999, Jerri Nielsen made headlines when she discovered a lump in her breast that a self-administered biopsy revealed to be an aggressive, fast-growing cancer. No flights in or out of Antarctica are possible during the continent's long winter, and Nielsen's account of giving herself chemotherapy while she and her fellow "Polies" waited for the weather to break is even more gripping than the news reports at the time. She's candid about her pain and fear; the media battle waged by her embittered ex-husband makes her ordeal even more challenging. Interestingly enough, however, this high drama does not overshadow Nielsen's deeper narrative of a woman who came "to the Ice" seeking new meaning in a life shattered by divorce and estrangement from her children. In the back-to-basics world of Antarctic medicine, with outdated equipment, few supplies, and no assistants, she rediscovered her vocation as a doctor, free from the imperatives of corporate-directed medicine. More importantly, Nielsen found spiritual solace in the world's most extreme environment, where she was "introduced slowly to the notion of giving more than you have and using less than you need ... of knowing that all you really own are your own thoughts." She makes the glories of the Pole so palpable that, by the end, readers will not even be surprised when she signs an e-mail to her family, "from the wonderful Ice." --Wendy Smith --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Nielsen spent the better part of 1999 as the physician for a team of 41 research scientists and their support group at the South PoleDa place that is completely unreachable for nine months of the year. To "winter" at the bottom of the world risks one's life; in addition, Nielsen was solely responsible for caring for the physical and emotional health of all the other "Polies." Yet, as she writes in a strong, lucid voice, she never felt afraid; in fact, as Nielsen became "of the Ice"Da transformation that brings incredible clarity about what's most important in this life, one that unites the Polies in a life-and-death symbiosis in a place where resources are severely limited and the pristine beauty is incomparableDshe felt safer than she had ever felt since childhood. Through power outages, fires and equipment failures, Nielsen found courage, until the dayDdeep into the pitch-black winterDshe absentmindedly discovered a hard mass at the top of her right breast. Harnessing the love, skills and intelligence of her fellow Polies, and by consulting with experts in the U.S. via satellite and e-mail, Nielsen conducted a biopsy on herself, using ice as an anesthetic, and completed several rounds of chemotherapy before she could be rescuedDin a daring presummer attempt. Captivating and incisive, Nielsen does not present a memoir about illness; instead, this excellent book is about life, work and the depth of human resiliency and love. (Jan.) Forecast: Nielsen's work is on a par with the best of the popular survival genre. First serial rights have been sold to Talk magazine, and A&E is including Nielsen's story in its Biography series. Interviews have been scheduled with Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America and Elle magazine. All that adds up to a bestseller.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax; Reprint edition (January 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786886994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786886999
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 63 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This story is an incredible one, full of pain, self awareness and joy. It is both heart-renching and uplifting. We should all have the courage that Dr. Jerri Nielsen had, and still has. To question our existance, and be brave enough to survive(in this case cancer) and endure(in this case, by operating on her self!). What the other reviewers fail to recognize is that we all have failures in our life, the true test of a person is proving that those can be overcome. To be able to read a true story of one woman who brought joy to those people around her, and had such a strong will to endure will make us all better. It is a great read, and a great inspiration.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Nancy A. Allen on January 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Ice Bound is one of the best books I have read in years. I just couldn't put it down. It is a wonderful story of love, friendship, and problem solving. I found it very educational. As I knew nothing about the South Pole and life there, it taught me so much about that mysterious part of the world. Ice Bound was so fascinating that I immediately started back at the first of the book to read it again slowly. As a nurse I found the medical parts of the book along with the profound effects on the body and mind at the South Pole just amazing. I believe the thoughtless comments about Dr. Neilsen and the flag being upside down were quite petty beyond belief. They weren't a book review. Get real! This is a great story. After reading her book it makes me wonder if those petty comments were made by her ex or his friends and family in an effort to sabatoge the success of her book, that is, to discourage readers. If so, it didn't work. This is a fabulous book that must be read by one and all.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"You've always been a survivor Duffy, and you survive well." This is a quote from the author's Mom and it is so true for her daughter's amazing story. This was one of the most inspiring books I have read. The author, a 46 year old ER doctor who perseveres in the face of daunting challenges, shares her incredible story of survival. I was impressed with the unflagging support the author receives from her family, fellow "Polies" at the research center in Antarctica and her doctor.
In her book, Jerri Nielsen brings herself back to the present when faced with longing for her home and family while stationed in Antarctica. I was reminded of another inspiring book called "Working On Yourself Doesn't Work" by Ariel & Shya Kane. The Kane's book is a practical modern day guide for living in the moment. All these authors write of how precious life is and of how each moment counts. As there are no guarantees in life. I recommend reading both these books highly.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
With all due respect to a couple of the earliest reviews, let's get to the point at hand, which is that this is an amazing story told by an amazing woman. After an unhappy marriage and a bitter break-up- that left her estranged from her three children, Dr. Jerri Nielsen went to spend a year as the resident doctor at the Amundsen Scott station in Antarctica. She was the only doctor among the 41 people in the complex, so when she developed breast cancer, there was no one to treat her, and no way, because of the extreme cold that kept planes from flying, to get help. What follows is an account of people's reactions and the unprecedented efforts that were made to help her, right up to the time when a crew of pilots braved temperatures that were low enough to freeze their fuel to fly in and lift her out.
The writing is personable and extremely readable; you feel more as if you are chatting with a friend than actually reading a book. Read it because it will tell you about a land at the bottom of the world; read it because it will describe a way of life you've never comprehended; but above all, read it because it is a story that will restore your faith in human nature.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By C Crawford on January 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Dr Nielsen shares her story of struggle and triumph with warmth and a generous spirit! I am in awe of her challenges, both personal and physical. She applauds the contributions of the Polie community and the Airmen as heroes, and rightly so. And she is also a hero! I cannnot think of a more captivating book. Let the controversy over her decision to sign up for this unusual position begin. She openly lets her feelings of sadness be known over being cut off by her children. Only those who have witnessed or experienced such cruel control in abusive relationships will understand. The rest of us need to be compassionate and open to portrayals of these human struggles to survive. Dr Nielsen's writing is alive and lyrical. Her love of people is written all over every page. Anyone who loves an honest and compassionate well written personal story will love this book!
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be an inspiration. The story is about the tribulations and triumphs of a women facing death. There are always two sides to a divorce, but that is not the focus of the story! Try to at least give the women credit for overcoming cancer! As for the front cover, write to the publishers or to the UN. The story was great and more women should be as brave, heck more men should be as brave! GREAT story!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "thistle@bigfoot.com" on January 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I came to eagerly write about this moving book, only to find two "comments", not REVIEWS of Ice Bound, the book. They give no insight into the book whatsoever, and that's a shame.
Jerri Nielsen's fascinating story of courage and redemption at the South Pole should not be missed. Whatever her previous situation, this woman found herself dying of aggressive cancer at the bottom of the world, with few options and an admirable concern for her colleagues. The events that transpire over a matter of a few dark months serve to illuminate the qualities of some resourceful, and compassionate people. Jerri Nielsen is to be admired, but she is not the only hero in this lovely book. It's a work of beauty and warmth -- even those who are phobic could find themselves wanting to be a part of the fiercely loyal and gently-accepting tiny community in that dome in Antarctica.
Jerri Nielsen is a remarkable woman, a caring physician, and obviously a spirited, loving person who, through adversity and "chilling" conditions, finds the best part of her self.
Don't just buy this book for yourself; pass it on, give it as a gift. You'll wish you were 1/100th as calm, courageous, self-effacing, and determined as this amazing woman and those who come to her rescue.
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