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Shortlisted, Bragg UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing, 2013

Chris Turney’s 1912 is an entertaining and beautifully illustrated history of an awe-inspiring subject.

The rivalry between Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen is a familiar story; what fewer people know is that, in 1912, five separate teams were exploring beyond the limits of the known world: Scott for Britain, Amundsen for Norway, Mawson for Australasia, Filchner for Germany and Shirase for Japan. The Antarctic discoveries made by these brave explorers enthralled the world and forever changed the way we understand our planet.

Chris Turney tells the story of the frozen continent, the heroic trials endured by its explorers and the lasting legacy for future scientific endeavour. Devoting a chapter to each of the five expeditions, he draws on previously unpublished archival material, framing the narrative with the broader idea of the spirit and excitement of scientific discovery.

To celebrate the centenary of Mawson’s expedition to Antarctica, Chris Turney will lead a team to retrace his steps. Find out more at ABC Big Ideas.

Chris was also guest of a two-part series on ABC’s Lateline, which you can watch here:
Part 1
Part 2

Other interview highlights:
ABC Radio National, Saturday Extra
Radio NZ Sunday Morning
4ZZZ FM Bookclub
Guardian Science Weekly

Praise for Chris Turney and 1912:

‘The new David Livingstone.’

Saturday Times

‘Hundreds of books have been written about this era of Antarctic exploration, but in telling the gripping, lesser known tales, 1912 is an excellent addition.’

New Scientist

‘Drawing on his own considerable polar experience, historic photographs and journals, [Chris Turney] presents a fascinating story of the men behind the first exploration of Antarctica. A well written and historically important work.’

Waikato Times

‘What makes this book of particular interest to those familiar with Antarctic exploration literature is the somewhat unusual (and welcome) fact that it was written by a climate scientist. As a historian of the motivation, events and characters of Antarctic exploration, Professor Turney does a workmanlike job. But as a historian of the science behind the aforementioned he is brilliant.’

Good Reading

‘Turney successfully conveys the heroism and flaws of the early explorers as they challenged the preternatural dangers of Antarctica.’

Pubishers Weekly US

‘A breathtaking journey into the expeditions, their traumas and dramas, their leaders and achievements…Chris Turney tells a fascinating tale.’


Chris Turney


Professor Chris Turney is an Australian and British Earth scientist, and an ARC Laureate Fellow in climate change at the University of New South Wales. He is the author of Bones, Rocks and Stars: The Science of When Things Happened and Ice, Mud and Blood: Lessons… »

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  • RRP: $34.99
  • Pub date: 25/07/2012
  • ISBN: 9781921834851
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