• Below the Convergence: Voyages Towards Antarctica, 1699-1839

    Below the Convergence: Voyages Towards Antarctica, 1699-1839 (Paperback) By (author) Alan Gurney

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  • Full bibliographic data for Below the Convergence

    Title
    Below the Convergence
    Subtitle
    Voyages Towards Antarctica, 1699-1839
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Alan Gurney
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 336
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780712683302
    ISBN 10: 0712683305
    Classifications

    BIC E4L: TRV
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T8.5
    BIC time period qualifier V2: 3JF, 3JH
    BIC subject category V2: WTL
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1QSR
    BISAC V2.8: TRV010000
    DC21: 910.916709033
    Edition
    New edition
    Edition statement
    New edition
    Illustrations note
    Ill.M.
    Publisher
    TBS The Book Service Ltd
    Imprint name
    TBS The Book Service Ltd
    Publication date
    01 May 1998
    Review text
    In this comprehensive account - written with sufficient wit and historical asides to offset the tedium of names, dates, and geographic minutiae - yacht designer and photographer Gurney shows how the discovery of the icebound continent became one of the great goals of explorers beginning in the late 17th century. The history of Antarctic exploration begins not with Captain James Cook, whom many readers will at once recognize as the first to plunge south of the Antarctic Circle, but with haunting tales dating back to the Greeks, legends of a temperate, populated southern continent. It was not until the last year of the 17th century and the voyage of Edmond Halley that the idea of a fertile land presumed to lie between the Straits of Magellan and the Cape of Good Hope began to erode. Between 1773 and 1775, Cook's famous expedition led him south of the Antarctic convergence (the oceanic zone where the warm Atlantic meets the frigid high-latitude waters); circumnavigating the Antarctic icepack, he found no continent but did discover new lands, including the South Sandwich Islands. Other explorers were to make their marks in Antarctic exploration, but as the 18th century gave way to the 19th, it was the lure of easy fortune, not science, that increasingly drew expeditions to the rich Antarctic seas. It was, appropriately enough, the crew of a New Haven sealer that finally stepped ashore on Antarctica in 1820. Although Gurney's narrative tends to loop back on itself circuitously at times, it is unfailingly informative and surprising in its scope: One learns about such diverse matters as penguin life, the China fur trade, the experiences of Charles Darwin, and tsarist geopolitics. Beyond the harrowing adventures one would expect to read about in any narrative of Antarctic discovery, Gurney's articulate story is a welcome portrait of an age driven by great mysteries and simpler technologies than those of today. (Kirkus Reviews)