xvi, 251 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
NASM copy purchased with funds from the S. Dillon Ripley Endowment.
Part I: Almost heroic. The elf child ; The kingdom of death ; No longer the only American ; Just a passenger ; No other worlds to conquer ; The sacrifice I must make ; The threshold of greatness -- Part II: Wyatt Earp Limited. The Lone Eagle ; The mayor of Antarctica ; Cloud kingdoms of the sunset ; The universe began to vibrate ; Alone ; The stars forecast strange things ; The third man ; A higher type of courage ; Part III: The heart of the Antarctic ; The great unknown ; Chasing the sun ; Lost ; Thank God you're down there ; Maybe it's all to try us ; A friendly gesture ; A silence that could be felt ; Chugging on -- Appendix: Problems in polar navigation ; Navigation instructions prepared by Sir Hubert Wilkins ; Wyatt Earp crew lists
"By the 1930s, no one had yet crossed Antarctica, and its vast interior remained a mystery frozen in time. Hoping to write his name in the history books, wealthy American Lincoln Ellsworth announced he would fly across the unexplored continent. And to honor his hero, Wyatt Earp, he would carry Earp's gun belt on the flight. The main obstacles to Ellsworth's ambition were numerous: he didn't like the cold, he avoided physical work, and he couldn't navigate. Consequently, he hired the experienced Australian explorer, Sir Hubert Wilkins, to organize the expedition on his behalf. While Ellsworth battled depression, Wilkins purchased a ship, hired a crew, and ordered a revolutionary new airplane constructed. The Ellsworth Trans-Antarctic Expeditions became epics of misadventure, as competitors plotted to beat Ellsworth, pilots refused to fly, crews mutinied, and the ship was repeatedly trapped in the ice. Finally, in 1935, Ellsworth took off to fly from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea. A few hours after leaving, radio contact with him was lost and the world gave him up for dead. [This book] brings alive one of the strangest episodes in polar history, using previously unpublished diaries, correspondence, photographs, and film to reveal the amazing true story of the first crossing of Antarctica and how, against all odds, it was achieved by the unlikeliest of heroes."--Dust jacket.