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An Empire of Ice, By Edward J Larson


Another reason we came second. "The British expedition was designed entirely for scientific research," wrote Amundsen. "The Pole was only a side-issue… in my plan it was the main object."

In this gripping study, Larson explains that "scientifically exploring and systematically exploiting" was central to Empire.

On Shackleton's Nimrod expedition (1907-9), three men were dispatched to the magnetic South Pole. On the return 260-mile trek, the participants agreed they had probably never reached the pole.