The most recommended books about Antarctica

Who picked these books? Meet our 57 experts.

57 authors created a book list connected to Antarctica, and here are their favorite Antarctica books.
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Book cover of Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization

C.A. Gray Author Of Caves of Glass

From C.A.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Naturopathic doctor Science nerd World traveler Multi-tasker Coffee lover

C.A.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

C.A. Gray Why did C.A. love this book?

I picked this up for inspiration for my next book; Graham Hancock has very compelling and entertaining “revisionist” takes on deep history, and this was no exception.

I was especially intrigued by the implications that there was once a very advanced civilization in Antarctica around 5000 years ago. Hancock made a compelling case that it was, essentially, the site of the lost island of Atlantis (though he never used that term that I can recall). He made the case that the demigods who originated in Antarctica eventually made their way to South America and Egypt, where they left behind their “fingerprints” in the form of unparalleled architecture with astrological purposes.

What more could a fantasy author ask for!

By Graham Hancock,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Fingerprints of the Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Could the story of mankind be far older than we have previously believed? Using tools as varied as archaeo-astronomy, geology, and computer analysis of ancient myths, Graham Hancock presents a compelling case to suggest that it is.
 
“A fancy piece of historical sleuthing . . . intriguing and entertaining and sturdy enough to give a long pause for thought.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
In Fingerprints of the Gods, Hancock embarks on a worldwide quest to put together all the pieces of the vast and fascinating jigsaw of mankind’s hidden past. In ancient monuments as far apart as Egypt’s Great Sphinx, the strange Andean…


Book cover of Ice Station

Graham Smith Author Of The Flood

From my list on where the weather is a character and a foe.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a novelist with a passion for reading and it is this which I feel qualifies me to speak on this topic. My reading is eclectic across the crime/mystery genre and there’s nothing I love more than a book that sucks me right into the same world its characters inhabit, something all five of my choices did. As a novelist I appreciate the way these novels all use the weather conditions to add an extra layer of threat to the protagonists and it’s something I’ve always wanted to emulate.

Graham's book list on where the weather is a character and a foe

Graham Smith Why did Graham love this book?

With this stunning introduction to Shane “Scarecrow” Schofield, Reilly hits the heights of adventure like few before him.

The action is non-stop and just when you think you have a chance to breathe, the frigid Antarctic conditions rear their head. Not so much a full on foe, as a general hindrance, I loved Ice Station because Reilly’s sparse descriptions of the landscape and inhospitable weather were just enough to bring a sympathetic shiver to me before the action kicked off again.

By Matthew Reilly,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ice Station as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fast-paced thriller from bestselling author Matthew Reilly, Ice Station.

Antarctica is the last unconquered continent, a murderous expanse of howling winds, blinding whiteouts and deadly crevasses. On one edge of Antarctica is Wilkes Station. Beneath Wilkes Station is the gate to hell itself...

A team of U.S. divers, exploring three thousand feet beneath the ice shelf has vanished. Sending out an SOS, Wilkes draws a rapid deployment team of Marines-and someone else...

First comes a horrific firefight. Then comes a plunge into a drowning pool filled with killer whales. Next comes the hard part, as a handful of survivors…


Book cover of At the Mountains of Madness

Alex Bernstein Author Of Plrknib

From Alex's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Leader of men Armchair comedian Ideas person Not so great dresser Expert in all things meaningless

Alex's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Alex Bernstein Why did Alex love this book?

I took a deep dive into Lovecraft’s oeuvre this year in an effort to make my way through Alan Moore’s fantastic “Providence” (which constantly references HPL).

At the Mountains of Madness clearly stands out as his magnum opus. After a long, suspenseful trip to Antarctic wastelands, we discover an origin story for much of Lovecraft’s entire mythos, in the form of the “Elder Gods”, who despite their utter otherness still invoke our sympathies.

The love and detail which Lovecraft puts into describing these creatures and what they were attempting to do is mesmerizing, and I’m surprised how often I’ve returned to this singular piece. If you only read one HPL story, this vision of alien gods and lost civilizations will stay with you long after you've turned the last page.

By H. P. Lovecraft,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked At the Mountains of Madness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the Mountains of Madness is a science fiction-horror novella by American author H. P. Lovecraft.

An expedition to Antarctica goes horribly wrong as a group of explorers stumbles upon some mysterious ancient ruins, with devastating consequences. At the Mountains of Madness ranks among Lovecraft's most terrifying novellas, and is a firm favourite among fans of classic horror.


Book cover of The Greatest Adventure

Alan Dean Foster Author Of Triplanetary: Science Fiction, Adventure, Space Opera

From my list on pre-1935 science fiction for modern readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started collecting science fiction as a teenager. As a collector, as opposed to just a reader, you come in contact with stories that considerably predate what you find for sale in stores. This led me to books from the 1930s and much earlier. John Taine was one of only two SF writers I encountered from the 1920s and 30s whom I still found enjoyable (and exciting) to read (the other was E.E. “doc” Smith).

Alan's book list on pre-1935 science fiction for modern readers

Alan Dean Foster Why did Alan love this book?

To take a break from his day job as Professor Emeritus of Higher Mathematics at Caltech, Eric Temple Bell (John Taine was his pen name) wrote a series of science fiction novels that dealt, not with mathematics, but largely with biology. Any of these are still quite readable today, and notable for their discussion of biology and related fields when most writers of science fiction were focused on physics and space travel.

The Greatest Adventure deals with mutated dinosaurs in Antarctica, which sounds like something out of a 1950s horror film but which Bell uses as the basis for an investigation into science and not schlock. I suspect he utilized the pen name John Taine so as not to embarrass his supercilious colleagues in the math department (or possibly himself).

By John Taine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Greatest Adventure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

green hardcover


Book cover of The Brief History of the Dead

Cynthia Reeves Author Of The Last Whaler

From my list on survival in extreme polar environments.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a lifelong passion for all things Arctic that began in childhood as I devoured many tragic tales of doomed Arctic explorers. This fascination later merged with concern for human impacts on this fragile ecosystem. Though I hate the cold and suffer from vertigo, I participated in the 2017 Arctic Circle Summer Solstice Expedition that sailed Svalbard’s western shores. Among other experiences, I witnessed a massive glacier calving and walked on an ice floe. Determined to fully absorb Svalbard’s setting for my creative work, I spent two subsequent residencies in Longyearbyen—one in the dark season and one as the light returned—and I signed on for another expedition to circumnavigate the archipelago.

Cynthia's book list on survival in extreme polar environments

Cynthia Reeves Why did Cynthia love this book?

I’d rank this novel in my top five of all time, not just as a great survival story.

This book is a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel set partly in Antarctica, a meditation on human existence, and a page-turner with keen attention to beautiful writing. Its characters grapple with essential, existential questions such as: How are we connected to the world? What happens when those last connections are broken? What is the nature of loneliness, of love? Is survival alone enough reason for living? 

I’ve read this novel several times, and though I know the arc of the story and the fate of its characters, I come away each time with insights into what it means to be alive. A bonus: it’s one of the few novels I know of set in Antarctica. 

By Kevin Brockmeier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Brief History of the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Kevin Brockmeier, one of this generation's most inventive young writers, comes a striking new novel about death, life, and the mysterious place in between.

 

The City is inhabited by those who have departed Earth but are still remembered by the living. They will reside in this afterlife until they are completely forgotten. But the City is shrinking, and the residents clearing out. Some of the holdouts, like Luka Sims, who produces the City’s only newspaper, are wondering what exactly is going on. Others, like Coleman Kinzler, believe it is the beginning of the end. Meanwhile, Laura Byrd is trapped…


Book cover of The Worst Journey in the World

Ben Hunt-Davis Author Of Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?

From my list on helping you achieve your goals.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Olympic Gold Medallist rower, performance coach, facilitator, and keynote speaker passionate about high performance, teamwork, and the parallels between sport and business. In 1998 I was part of a consistently underachieving Team GB rowing eight, often placing 7th or 8th. We weren’t the strongest or most talented crew. By changing the way we worked as a team, we managed to turn it around to win Olympic Gold on the waters of Sydney in 2000. Since then, I've specialized in translating Olympic-winning strategies into business success. Specifically focusing on leadership and team development, I work with individuals, teams, and organizations to help them define their gold medal goals and supporting them in achieving them.

Ben's book list on helping you achieve your goals

Ben Hunt-Davis Why did Ben love this book?

This is a gripping account of expeditioner Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Apsley Cherry-Garrard, one of the youngest members of Scott's team, recorded the experience of this adventure gone disastrously wrong. Despite the horrors that Scott and his men faced along the way, Cherry's account is filled with stories of resilience, belief in the human spirit, and to persevere in the face of adversity, no matter the cost. Through frostbitten flesh, teeth chattering so hard they spontaneously shatter in the cold of the air, to sweat freezing the instant it emerges from the pores – this is not for the faint-hearted. Nonetheless it is certainly one of the most inspiring accounts of developing self-belief and pushing on in the face of brutal setbacks. 

By Apsley Cherry-Garrard,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Worst Journey in the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A firsthand account of Scott's disastrous Antarctic expedition

The Worst Journey in the World recounts Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Apsley Cherry-Garrard—the youngest member of Scott’s team and one of three men to make and survive the notorious Winter Journey—draws on his firsthand experiences as well as the diaries of his compatriots to create a stirring and detailed account of Scott’s legendary expedition. Cherry himself would be among the search party that discovered the corpses of Scott and his men, who had long since perished from starvation and brutal cold. It is through Cherry’s insightful narrative…


Book cover of Endurance

Robin Esrock Author Of The Great Global Bucket List

From my list on inspiring your bucket list travels.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a travel writer, author, broadcaster, speaker, and producer, I’ve reported from over 100 countries on 7 continents for major print and digital publications worldwide and networks like National Geographic and Travel Channel.  I kicked off my career with a solo, 12-month round-the-world backpacking adventure, largely inspired by the formative books I read below. Embracing the world with insatiable curiosity, an open heart, an open mind, a sense of humour, and enthusiasm to share my stories clearly resonated. Here I am, two decades later, author of a half-dozen bestselling books that focus on my own eclectic travels, which will hopefully inspire others as these books inspired me.  

Robin's book list on inspiring your bucket list travels

Robin Esrock Why did Robin love this book?

This book made me want to visit Antarctica, and when I finally did, I read it again.

There are a few things going on here:  an insane adventure with a daring mission that defies the odds through incredible hardships; an introduction to that sparse, frozen continent that has long captivated the imagination; and a cosmic dissonance knowing modern travellers can visit such a harsh, unforgiving place today with the comfort of hot tubs, cocktail bars, and gourmet buffets.

Learning about the history of polar exploration makes your own journey that much more meaningful. 

By Alfred Lansing,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Endurance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for Antarctica, where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles of pack ice and only a day's sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. Thus began the legendary ordeal of Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men. For ten months the ice-moored Endurance drifted northwest before it was finally crushed between two ice floes. With no options left, Shackleton and a skeleton crew attempted a near-impossible…


Book cover of The Totorore Voyage

Nicholas Coghlan Author Of Winter in Fireland: A Patagonian Sailing Adventure

From my list on sailing in Patagonia.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first experience of sailing was in an open dinghy in the North Sea in winter; the second was capsizing in the path of a hovercraft at Cowes. I was put off for years. But once Jenny and I moved to spectacular British Columbia, we were inspired to try again. In 1985 we left on what would become a 4-year circumnavigation of the world; more recently and over several years we made our way back under sail from Cape Town to BC, spending a year in Patagonian waters. My other (paying) career has been as a diplomat, which is everything long-distance-sailing is not: people, rules, compromises, convention. Over the years, things have more-or-less balanced out.

Nicholas' book list on sailing in Patagonia

Nicholas Coghlan Why did Nicholas love this book?

In 1986, New Zealander Gerry Clark set off on what would turn out to be a three-year circumnavigation of Antarctica aboard his home-built plywood yacht TotororeThe ostensible objective was a study of seabirds – notably albatrosses – but this is no ornithological treatise. In the Chilean channels and the intricate waterways around Tierra del Fuego, Totorore and her crew lurch from one near disaster to another, each recounted Tilman-like in an understated style. Later, he is dismasted twice and the voyage becomes a desperate struggle for survival. We were lucky enough to meet Gerry – and have him sign a copy of this book – in 1990; it’s rightly described as “one of the most remarkable small boat adventures of all time.” Tototore and crew disappeared one night in 1999, en route to retrieve satellite transmitters from albatrosses on Antipodes Island, off New Zealand. 

By Gerry Clark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Totorore Voyage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

`I love the sea, I love the birds, I love adventure. In what better way could I indulge myself, in these later years of my life, than to undertake an expedition in the great Southern Ocean? In 1983 at the age of 56, Gerry Clark set out from New Zealand in his 10 metre home built wooden yacht to circumnavigate Antarctica in a quest for new information about seabirds. In this graphic account of the ensuing 3 year 8 month voyage, he describes his adventures in some of the remotest, wildest and most spectacularly beautiful parts of the world.

`Below…


Book cover of Scott's Last Journey

Brenda Clough Author Of Revise the World

From my list on British explorers freezing to death in Antarctica.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a science fiction writer. If you write about time travel, one of the things you have to worry about is changing the past, the ‘gun for a dinosaur’ effect. If you go to the past and kill that dinosaur, will it affect the present? Maybe that dinosaur was the ancestor of all mammals. So, if you want to steal something from the past and bring it to now, you have to choose carefully. Something that has left no biological footprint. When I got that far, I remembered that Titus Oates walked off into the storm in Antarctica, never to be seen again, to save his companions. His body is still out there, frozen in a glacier … or is it?

Brenda's book list on British explorers freezing to death in Antarctica

Brenda Clough Why did Brenda love this book?

One of the things that made Scott’s expedition legendary was the photographs. His was the first scientific expedition to include a professional photographer on staff. Herbert Ponting used the cameras and glass plates of his time, and the images are stupendous. This book reproduces all the great ones, images that renovated the human imagination and which you can see to this day imitated in movies and special effects. 

By Robert Falcon Scott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Scott's Last Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The journal of British explorer Robert F. Scott's final, ill-fated expedition to Antarctica sheds light on his fatal attempt to reach the South Pole


Book cover of Deep Storm

Mark Terry Author Of Crystal Storm

From my list on science is trying to kill us all.

Why am I passionate about this?

Currently, the world seems concerned that artificial intelligence (AI) will destroy the world or at least put many of us out of jobs. Only a few years ago, a significant part of the population believed that COVID-19 was made in a Chinese laboratory and intentionally or accidentally leashed on the world, killing millions. This isn’t just a theme in tech thrillers; it’s a theme in life. Whether it’s nuclear weapons, genetic engineering, AI, or some other type of technology, there’s always a fear that it’ll do more damage than good and, at its worst, bring an end to the world. 

Mark's book list on science is trying to kill us all

Mark Terry Why did Mark love this book?

When it comes to tech thrillers, I can be a sucker for exotic locations—Antarctica, the Amazon, a deep-sea trench—and in the case of Lincoln Child’s Deep Storm, a top-secret military undersea research station. There’s a feeling of deep mysteries—not only are many people working at the station showing up with unexplainable medical problems, but the nature of the mystery being investigated doesn’t make sense. They claim they’ve found Atlantis, but the expense and secrecy point to something significantly more bizarre.

This book is many things, and one of them is a classic locked-room mystery writ large, with enormous stakes. Whatever they’ve found at the bottom of the ocean is extremely important and dangerous. World-destroying dangerous. High stakes, anyone?

By Lincoln Child,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Deep Storm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.