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Riding the Ice Wind: By Kite and Sledge across Antarctica Hardcover – August 31, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

*This is a heart-led account of one of the longest, hardest polar journeys of recent years. It is a testament that enduring hardship isn't about bravado but about a quiet, at times faltering, daily decision to endure.* --  Bear Grylls, Man vs. Wild

*It's extremely heartening to discover, through a text that is beautifully and powerfully written, that a younger generation of adventurers has got what it takes - and more. They prove themselves worthy successors to their heroes, Amundsen, Shackleton and Scott.* -- John Hare, author of Mysteries of the Gobi

*An original and compelling book that really gets into the psyche of adventure and the conflict between the call of responsibility and the desire for freedom. I thoroughly enjoyed it.* -- Jonny Bealby, Wild Frontiers

*...fresh as a daisy... challenging, intelligent and thoughtful. Riding the Ice Wind reminds us that decent writing about tough adventure need not be a thing of the past. A hundred years ago there was a great explorer with a literary soul and the ability to write well. Alastair Vere Nicoll may not be Ernest Shackleton, but he's living proof that while the literary explorer may be an endangered species, there are still a few out there, if you know where to look.* -- Nick Smith, for Bookdealer

*...lovely descriptions of the wilderness. The real voyage at the heart of the book, though, is the attempt to discover meaning in a life the writer had found increasingly mediocre.* -- Clove Stroud, Sunday Telegraph

*...A superbly engaging account of an impossibly hard trip. Its originality, however, lies in its sensitivity to the purpose of such expeditions to the have-it-all generation.* -- Richard Lofthouse, Oxford Today, Hilary Term edition

About the Author

Alastair Vere Nicoll is the investment director at Berkley Energy. He studied English Literature at Oxford University where he was awarded an undergraduate scholarship and a double first class degree. He lives in London.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: I. B. Tauris (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848853068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848853065
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,715,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was a recommendation when I bought Bear Grylls book FACING THE FROZEN OCEAN. I'm glad I bought it. I've read dozens of books on mountain climbing and polar expeditions but I prefer those written by those people that were actually there, not just researchers. Too many expedition books are too detached from the characters and emotional saga that goes with expeditions. This book covers it all.
If you have ever dreamed about going on an adventure such as climbing Mt Everest or going to the North or South Pole then you will like this book. At times I felt as though the author was writing about me as I've had the same feelings and reservations planning an expedition. For anyone that has obligations of a job, children, spouse, mortgage etc but still have dreams of exploring then this book is for you. Can a group of guys actually make it across Antartica pulling sleds and using just skis and kites? I won't spoil the details for you but they do run into obstacles and have setbacks unlike other "feel good" exploration books on the market where you already know the ending. Over all I'm very pleased I bought this book and I'm sure I'll read again.

Wild Bill
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Initially I purchased this book because of the kite angle as I have personal interest in snowkiting and expedition kiting. I soon realised that was not the case as the guys were not very experienced kiters and also did not have that much wind during the expedition.

However, I read the whole thing because this is a good book with a new angle that separates it from other expedition books. This is a book about an ordinary guy pursuing his dream, but also doubting whether he has enough of the "right stuff" reach his goals.

The narrators doubts about his abilities in the Antarctic desert and his constant thoughts about his unborn child and pregnant wife at home gives the story an existential/philosophical edge that actually I found very much worth while the read. Thus the book turned out something quite other than my initial expectations, but still I kept on reading.

On the downside it could be said that the author lets his thoughts run free and sometimes the digressions from the actual story becomes tedious. To my knowledge this is the authors first book so I'll give him the benefit of being a debutante. And so I look forward to the next piece of literature from this guy. Maybe a bit more kiting, little less philosophy next time, huh?
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Format: Hardcover
Oh dear.

I don't care for the sentimental maundering, but at least the author presents his own first-hand experiences with candor. He loses his way as soon as he departs from his own trip: misquoting and getting his facts wrong about some of the historical expeditions, and exposing his ignorance of the modern Antarctic scientific mission when he writes about Amundsen Scott South Pole Station. No, there is not a 25-to-1 support staff to scientist ratio (he based his math on the members of 1 science group, IceCube; all other scientists may be surprised to be demoted). He knows nothing about the nature of the endeavor going on inside, but he is quite happy to pontificate on the American presence based on the appearance of the front door. Apparently he is unfamiliar with the movement of the ice cap that has drawn the station closer to the geographic pole over the course of several decades (he prefers to blame pushy Americans for its proximity, that's more convenient). I wonder if he knows that he photographed and wrote about reaching the ceremonial pole marker, rather than the geographic one (re-surveyed every year due to that sneaky ice cap movement). He clearly doesn't know or care about the history of IGY and the original South Pole Station. He admires the quaint and atmospheric old Dome, whose power plant coated everything in the vicinity with soot; and disdains the (not so pretty) new station, with its much cleaner co-generators that combine heat and electricity production with pretty decent efficiency and low by-product.

I respect the achievement of sledging across the continent. The author should do his homework before he insults the achievements of others.
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