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Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure [Paperback]

Richard E. Byrd
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 27.50 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Aug. 8 2003 1559634634 978-1559634632 1

When Admiral Richard E. Byrd set out on his second Antarctic expedition in 1934, he was already an international hero for having piloted the first flights over the North and South Poles. His plan for this latest adventure was to spend six months alone near the bottom of the world, gathering weather data and indulging his desire “to taste peace and quiet long enough to know how good they really are.” But early on things went terribly wrong. Isolated in the pervasive polar night with no hope of release until spring, Byrd began suffering inexplicable symptoms of mental and physical illness. By the time he discovered that carbon monoxide from a defective stovepipe was poisoning him, Byrd was already engaged in a monumental struggle to save his life and preserve his sanity.

When Alone was first published in 1938, it became an enormous bestseller. This edition keeps alive Byrd’s unforgettable narrative for new generations of readers.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This reissue of Byrd's account of a grueling five-month stay at the South Pole in 1934 includes original illustrations by Richard Harrison.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this 1938 volume, the great explorer recounts four months he spent alone gathering scientific data in a shack in Antarctica. The result is a remarkable story of survival and adventure. This facsimile edition is published in a blue typeface.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Admiral Byrd Goes Bipolar Dec 27 2000
How low can it go.
That's the key question about the thermometer - an average of about -60 degrees - and Admiral Richard Byrd's mental state as he struggled to survive when he was, by choice, stranded "Alone" near the South Pole in 1934.
It is a rather amazing true tale of physical and psychic endurance. Admiral Byrd planned to set up an "Advance Base" (a weather station in the inland area of Antarctica) that was separated from the rest of his exploration team at Little America by 123 miles. For six months of the Antarctic winter, there would be no way for a rescue team to reach Advance Base.
Almost unbelievably, he decides to man the weather station by himself. The plan had been for three men to operate Advance Base, but he opts to go it alone because some supplies were lost and - the real reason - he wants the spiritual experience of being by himself.
Not a smart idea. Unless you're a bear with a whole lot of white fur, sitting on your duff during a bitter winter at the South Pole is not Club Med, South. As the fantastically frigid, dark and brutal winter sets in, Byrd discovers that it really is cold outside, and inside as well thanks to a faulty furnace that leaks carbon monoxide.
He blames the latter for the deterioration of his mental facilities and becomes all but immobilized by what appears to be, in today's psychobabble, severe clinical depression.
The resulting tale of mind over a continent of murderously icy, windy matter is eloquent and well-told. Admiral Byrd's courage and perseverance is inspiring. But his judgment, which got him into this polar predicament in the first place, is less than zero.
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This book has the capacity to fundamentally alter the way one perceives nature and life. However, the most striking aspect of the book was Byrd's view of religion. While religious discussion does not consume a large portion of the text, Byrd's insights into the matter are unique and very interesting, especially to to the freethinking agnostic. Without catering to a particular denomination, his take on religion is a self-reliant, logical, hearty one that somehow manages to be spiritual and graceful at the same time. This is due, in large part, to the fact that so much of this view is based on his admiration and astonishment at the complexities of nature. A truly inspiring piece of work, it can crack chinks into the souls of even hardened skeptics and remind us all that life is a panorama of personal emotional relationships with others that make our own continued survival worthwhile.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Alone Sept. 21 2000
Richard E. Byrd's "ALONE" gets off to a slow start, but as soon as Byrd is left alone, 123 miles from the nearest humans at Little America, during the Antarctic winter, the real drama begins. In 1934, long before science ascertained the real effects of constant darkness on the human psyche, Byrd, in this autobiographical expose, makes it very clear how the lack of sunlight, isolation, and carbon monoxide poisoning can push a man to his utmost mental and physical limits. To top it off, Byrd has a writing style so descriptive and soulful that it makes the reader feel as if he were right there with him as an invisible observer. Anyone who likes to explore the dormant, but always present, dark recesses of the human mind has to read this book. As a result, Byrd unintentionally takes us also on an exploration of the mind, not just the brutal conditions of the Antarctic. Great book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes it's good to judge a book by its cover Nov. 27 2001
By Yon
The exquisite cover and beautiful print of this edition, published by Kodansha in 1995, are a suitable frame for this wonderful book. Its strength lies both in the quality of the prose, which flows naturally, at times poetically, and in the fact that this is a personal account of a true story. The pain is real, the suspense is real.
It tells the story of six long and dark months, in the winter of 1934, which Richard Byrd spent alone in Antarctica. He struggles to survive the hardships of the Antarctic winter itself, the diffuculty of being alone, and also the physical and mental sickness that nearly overcome him, illness caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.
If there is a flaw in this book it is that one wishes that Byrd could have gone deeper into the psychological and philosophical themes he brings up. Still, it is a very moving account indeed.
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I felt from the beginning that I was there experiencing Admiral Byrd's journey into the outer reaches of our external (and internal) frontiers. I found myself reading some sentences over and over again as they were so poetically striking. How he and his associates expressed dignity and compassion in the face of extreme diversity is a lesson we should integrate into our daily lives. I recommend this book for ages 17 and beyond as a mandatory tool in character development. Written over 60 years ago, the themes are still timeless.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is stamina Feb. 1 2002
By Tollo
It never ceases to amaze me how far people will go when they have made up their minds.
This is a story about Admiral Byrd who sets up camp in Antarctica and decides to spend the winter there in a small hut in the ice. It's a story about how he manages to get from day to day, both psychologically and physically. Apart from being slightly eccentric and brave, he shows amazing self-control as even when he is close to dying he still decides to go on instead of calling for help.
It is a nice story, well readable and enjoyable.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An Amazng Account of Endurance ...
It is incredible what Byrd put himself through. Faced death on many occassions while alone in the world`s most danger weather observation post - temperatures that sometimes went... Read more
Published 8 months ago by moonfish
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating story of survival amidst the harshest of conditions
Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure is the story of famed explorer Richard Byrd's famous (or infamous) solitary sojourn at the bottom of the world - ably, if somewhat reluctantly,... Read more
Published on March 7 2012 by Daniel Jolley
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!
If you are looking for a book on an Antarctic adventure, perhaps there are better choices to be made. Read more
Published on Nov. 29 2000 by Martha S.
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT the greastest.
Byrd was in an incredible location but there are many many more interesting books out there. When I read a book that I think is worth reading I will lend it to someone else. Read more
Published on Dec 29 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound and humbling account of limits of human endurance!
This autobiographical account of one man's struggle to survive the long Antarctic night contains not only incisive descriptions of -70 degree weather and its horrific effects, but... Read more
Published on May 5 1998 by
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
One of the most exciting adventures ever written. A definite MUST for anyone who likes to read true life adventures. Read more
Published on Feb. 19 1998 by
5.0 out of 5 stars One man's contest against himself.
This journal account of Byrd's months at the South Pole
reveal the most extreme circumstances that force a man
to discover the absolute limits of his will and inner... Read more
Published on Jan. 9 1997
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