The story begins with the author's first experience with a frigid cold that would shock even the hardiest North American. Myers' introduction talks about his first journey north of Baffin Island in the Arctic and how it was so cold that the ship literally "crunched" in such a manner that all aboard were certain it was sinking. This initial experience with frigid temperatures did nothing to prepare Myers for his experience in Antarctica. It certainly increased his admiration of the early explorers who braved the elements with far less comfort and protection against the elements than do the twenty-first century scientists who visit, study and work on the earth's frozen continent for months on end.
Captain Cook was the first to publish maps illustrating a frozen continent in the southern hemisphere in 1776. Many doubted his belief that Antarctica was a body of land covered in ice. His critics believed it was just a large body of ice. It was too cold, in Cook's descriptions, to be land, a place where people might live. It wasn't until the early part of the next century that William Smith sighted Antarctica and claimed the land for England. The Navy didn't believe Smith's accounts and doubted that this so-called "continent" even existed.
In spite of the disbelief in its existence, explorers and scientists became intrigued by its possible existence and expeditions followed to study the area. The fascination with Antarctica has continued to this day. In 1959, the United States signed the Antarctic Treaty to insured that a permanent research centre was established on the frozen continent. Since Antarctica contains 90 percent of the earth's ice, the greatest fear is that the melting of this continent would raise the level of the earth's oceans by one hundred feet.
This is a fascinating study of a frozen land and the brave explorers and scientists who continue to study it.