From Publishers Weekly
In February 2001, Bancroft and Arnesen, "total stranger[s]," became the first women to cross Antarctica on foot. The women-Bancroft, 48, of Minnesota, was the first woman to cross the ice to both the North and South Poles; Arnesen, 50, an Oslo resident, was the first woman to ski solo to the South Pole-met in 1998 and set to work finding corporate sponsors and undergoing intensive physical training. International educators and millions of students in 116 countries participated in an online curriculum as the two ex-schoolteachers, inspired by Shackleton and other explorers, began their grueling 2,300-mile journey in mid-November 2000. They walked, skied and ice-sailed through bitter cold (temperatures sank as low as -35 degrees Farenheit) while hauling 250-pound fiberglass sledges filled with food, medications and electronic equipment, including handheld GPS units and a laptop. Along the way, they did regularly scheduled satellite phone interviews with CNN. Their high-tech trek turned into a physical and emotional ordeal as they survived injuries, blizzards, accidents and anxious moments, crossing crevasses to emerge triumphant three months later. Although the triple-track format of three different writers interrupting one another is sometimes jarring, the authors' descriptive details and vivid writing bring the adventure alive. In addition to a lengthy "what they carried" equipment list, the book's finale features interviews with people who were caught up in the expedition or directly involved. Maps, 16-page color insert.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Two middle-aged schoolteachers, an American and a Norwegian, set out in November 2000 to become the first women to travel across Antarctica on foot. Both women had extensive experience traveling on polar ice under very difficult conditions, but this journey was the ultimate test of their endurance. Arnesen and Bancroft relate that as children they both searched unsuccessfully for stories of girls having adventures and overcoming physical dangers. As adults they wanted to share their accomplishments in a way that would encourage others, especially children, to cultivate dreams and strive to attain them. They recruited teachers to develop a curriculum based on their expedition that could be used in art, science, mathematics, and literature classes. Cell phones, cameras, and a laptop computer allowed teachers and students to follow their progress as they dashed across the ice to reach their destination before winter darkness set in. And what an exciting trip it was. They often used skis with sails to glide over the ice. Each woman pulled a sled with up to 80 pounds of food and gear. They were in constant danger from fluky winds, deep crevasses, and temperatures as low as minus 35 degrees. The authors chronicle their daily life with a realistic yet inspiring attitude and reveal many intimate details. Color photos of the women training and of their expedition enhance the text. Teens will be inspired to live out their dreams, thus accomplishing the women's goal in writing this firsthand account.-Penny Stevens, Andover College, Portland, ME
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