Brilliantly attuned to the transience of nature and painfully aware of the precariousness of a polar environment facing global warming, Peter Matthiessen provides an exquisite account of his voyage through the islands surrounding Antarctica. In lyrical prose, Matthiessen describes the wildlife he encounters and the region it inhabits, along with historical information regarding the greatest pioneers and adventurers who preceded him.
Matthiessen brings to life the waters of the richest whale feeding grounds in the world; the wandering albatross with its 11-foot wingspan arching through the sky; and the habits of every variety of seal, walrus, petrel, and penguin in the area, all with a boundless and contagious inquisitiveness. In addition to offering an unequaled naturalist’s perspective, Matthiessen’s story takes an unforeseen adventurous turn as he and the crew of the 384-foot research vessel are bombarded for two days by an unrelenting hurricane, injuring everyone on board. Magnificently written, End of the Earth evokes an appreciation and sympathy for a region as harsh as it is beautiful.
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