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The Roof at the Bottom of the World: Discovering the Transantarctic Mountains Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300171978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300171976
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 8.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The modern maps and images on which [Stump] reconstructs the passages of the early explorers are a significant and unequaled achievement, created with a passion that seems obvious looking at them.”—Guy G. Guthridge, National Science Foundation

(Guy G. Guthridge 2011-03-03)

"A superbly illustrated book on the least known mountain range in the world. Stump’s informed text combines exploration history and modern science, and the photographs bring the Antarctic landscape to life."—Professor Julian Dowdeswell, Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University (Julian Dowdeswell 2011-03-23)

 "Noted geologist, Stump, leads us to the majestic mountains of Antarctic both as scientist and a writer with a passion for polar history. A noteworthy achievement."—Ross A. Virginia, Myers Family Professor of Environmental Science Director, Institute of Arctic Studies Dartmouth College Hanover NH
(Ross A. Virginia 2011-04-11)

“Best, he includes very fine topographic maps, color photographs (many his own) and satellite images. And most helpful for anyone ever confused about just where and how the explorers made their way, Stump has superimposed the actual routes they took on many of the images.”—Robert Harris, New York Times Book Review
(Robert Harris New York Times Book Review)

“Thanks to the stunning photographs—many by the author—this solid and dependable book is as beautiful as the mountains it describes.”—Nature
(Nature)

Won an Honorable Mention for the 2011 American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE) in the Earth Sciences category
(PROSE Award in Earth Sciences Honorable Mention Association of American Publishers 2012-02-02)

“Nowhere will readers find a more complete history of the discovery and exploration of the Transantarctic Mountains than in this book.”—Library Journal
(Library Journal)

"A fabulous book for Antarctica lovers."—Rasoul Sorkhabi, Geology Today
(Rasoul Sorkhabi Geology Today 2012-03-01)

About the Author

Edmund Stump is professor of exploration at Arizona State University. He is also a geologist, polar explorer, mountaineer, and photographer specializing in the geology of the Transantarctic Mountains. He has served as principal investigator or chief scientist on many scientific field trips to Antarctica, most recently a 2010–2011 National Science Foundation expedition to the Beardmore Glacier area. He lives in Tempe, AZ.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary P on November 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a surprise! I knew there were mountains in Antarctica, but I had no idea that they were so amazing and magnificent. This book offers a unique perspective. It shows the routes used by Scott, Amundsen and others to explore the continent by tracing on maps and photographs the actual routes they took. The story is engrossing, the mountains are spectacular, and the photography is surreal. This is a beautiful book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ThirstyBrooks on February 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As I understood the history books, the South Pole was 'conquered' by explorers who climbed up an ice pack over 1,000 feet thick and mushed their way to the pole. There were some mountains in the distance somewhere, and some big mysterious crevasses in the polar ice, but I thought it was mostly a flat empty plain.

The Roof at the Bottom of the World sets the story straight. The polar explorers sailed as far as they could into the Ross Sea to minimize the distance they had to walk to the pole. And when the explorers embarked on their land journey, the first step was to climb the glaciers ...not a flat ice cap. These glaciers are 10 mile wide rivers of ice coming down a steep slope from a mountain range 10,000 feet high. The first leg of the journey is up the icefalls. That's why there are huge crevasses. That's why this is a story about climbing, yet the rock faces are mostly just pretty pictures.

Much of the story describes the detailed routes the early explorers took through the glaciers, the snow conditions, and the geological sampling. While well polished, the story's pace often invites speed reading. But the illustrations help the reader see where the explorers were going, what obstacles they overcame, and the interesting things they found, including the molten lava pool. The Roof at the Bottom of the World isn't just a coffee table book of photos, it provides a carefully detailed history of the pioneers of Antarctica.

This book changed my idea of Antarctic exploration from one of people riding dogsleds to one of maniacs climbing icefalls into a steady 30 MPH wind in the worst imaginable cold. It's enlightening and worthwhile to read, but not everyone would want it as a gift. The Roof at the Bottom of the World is a travel story about a place normal people wouldn't enjoy. I don't need to go there, I'll just read the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BPL on August 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Stump's book focuses on one of Earth's great mountain ranges, the Transantarctic, that form a backbone to the Antarctic continent. He is a geologist who has made 13 expeditions mapping and exploring this range. During that time he took thousands of photographs, the best of which are in this book, and they are stunning. His book is an inventive join of history and his contemporary experience. Stump tells of the exploration of Antarctica and the discovery of the Transantarctic Mountains and blends this with his photographs and personal experiences, thus his memoir complements parts of the history. Detailed accounts are given of the efforts of early twentieth century explorers. Some of these historical exploits are from diaries and appear in print for the first time. Stump's research into history was thorough. Although the majority of the book is his recount of historical events, sidebars in many chapters describe his own experiences in varied situations as he explored the mountains over the decades. Many sidebar scenes have vivid descriptions, and include how he felt in situations, but without dialog. He uses a full narrative style. His novel organization of his book is successful; he has presented a journey of discovery that he shared with history.
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2 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Baja James on October 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book came up on mountaineering but it had no real content on mountaineering. It does have wonderful pictures of the ranges to make you wish you could climb them.
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