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  • Alone on the Ice

  • The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration
  • By: David Roberts
  • Narrated by: Matthew Brenher
  • Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (172 ratings)

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Alone on the Ice cover art

Alone on the Ice

By: David Roberts
Narrated by: Matthew Brenher
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Summary

His two companions were dead, his food and supplies had vanished in a crevasse, and Douglas Mawson was still 100 miles from camp.

On January 17, 1913, alone and near starvation, Mawson, leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, was hauling a sledge to get back to base camp. The dogs were gone. Now Mawson himself plunged through a snow bridge, dangling over an abyss by the sledge harness. A line of poetry gave him the will to haul himself back to the surface.

Mawson was sometimes reduced to crawling, and one night he discovered that the soles of his feet had completely detached from the flesh beneath. On February 8, when he staggered back to base, his features unrecognizably skeletal, the first teammate to reach him blurted out, “Which one are you?”

This thrilling and almost unbelievable account establishes Mawson in his rightful place as one of the greatest polar explorers and expedition leaders.

©2013 David Roberts (P)2013 Blackstone

Critic reviews

"Painting a realistic portrait of Aussie explorer Douglas Mawson and his arduous trek through some of the most treacherous icy Antarctic terrain, Roberts gives the reader a very close look at the huge risks and preparations of the nearly impossible feat…Harrowing, exciting and brutally real, Roberts provides a chilling backstory to polar explorer Mawson’s bold solitary survival tale." (Publishers Weekly)

"Mountaineer and prolific author Roberts returns with a vivid history of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson and his 1912 exploration of Antarctica…. Roberts creates a full portrait of Mawson and does justice to what famed mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary would later call 'the greatest survival story in the history of exploration.'" (Kirkus Reviews)

"Douglas Mawson is not as well-known as Amundsen, Scott, or Shackleton, but as this intense and thrilling epic shows, he deserves a place on the pedestal next to these other great explorers of the Antarctic…. This fast-moving account earns for Mawson and his team a well-deserved place of honor in the so-called heroic age of Antarctic exploration." (Booklist)

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What listeners say about Alone on the Ice

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Don't bother!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The material in this book merely rehashes Mawson's well written autobiography, The Heart of the Blizzard. some of the comments about other antarctic explorers repeat Roland Huntsford's biased viewpoints as though they were gospel. the narration is extremely tedious and the pronounciation of many words is inaccurate and very annoying. If the story is new to you you may enjoy the content, but the narrator would need to be much more inspiring to make it worth the effort.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Read Mawson's original!

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Matthew Brenher?

not sure.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

irritation.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Astonishing Endurance

An amazing true story of human bravery, made all the more astonishing due to the relatively primitive equipment that the explorers were using. The book is read in a listenable and articulate manner for the most part, though there are a few jarring ticks which are, in all honesty quite shocking coming from a professional: the habit of reading dates as, for example, “May one” rather than “May the first”, the repeated mis-reading of certain words e.g. “magnanimous” read as magnaMiNous” (it isn’t the only example) - although the most jarring problem (the date format) may have been a production or editorial decision rather than the actors choice. A real shame as it partially spoils what would otherwise be a wonderful audio book.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Terrible pronunciations and understanding of terms

The story is epic and well told from the text but the pronunciation is terrible, not least in reading degrees and minutes of longitude or latitude as degrees and feet! it must be that an apostrophe is used by a number when stating feet and inches but also to denote minutes of latitude when in the context of geographic position. Disappointing that this reader wasn't able to learn some basic geography when preparing to read the account of one of the greatest geographic expeditions of the 20th century.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

AI not a danger after all..

A fantastic book absolutely brutalised by a horrendous performance. If this isn't AI, shameful editing..

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great stories of survival

This bookcwas well-detailed in explaining the struggles and battles the early arctic explores had to endure.

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1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Endurance and bravery

This is an amazing account of exploration and an heroic struggle against the elements, I recommend this book if you like story’s about polar exploration

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Narration is quite monotone

Narration is quite monotone, I think I’ve listened to another 12hour book with this narrator and his voice makes it quite difficult to stay focused. The story jumps around quiet a bit so there was a couple of hours I had no idea what was going on or who was who. Lots of descriptions of killing and eating multiple huskies. Could have been shorter, could have been better narrated but overall an interesting story of survival

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible

I adore this book! having excerpts from the diaries of the men mixed with the authors research made the book SO incredibly intriguing as I got some sense of what these men were like and not only facts.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Dry and poorly narrated

The basic story is a fascinating tale of man's courage in the face of terrifying adversity.

However, it's quite a dry listen and one of the worst narrations I've listened to.

It often sounds as if it's being read by an AI voice, with strange and inconsistent pronunciations and unexpected pauses mid-sentence.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Alone on the ice

Listened to by my husband who’s a hillwalker. He thoroughly enjoyed it and recommends it. Well read and it’s a freebie!

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