The Crossing of Antarctica is a fine photographic record of the historic 1955-58 Trans-Antarctic Expedition when Sir Vivian Fuchs, supported by Sir Edmund Hillary, finished the work begun by Bruce, König and Shackleton. Fuchs subsequently never quite received the acclaim his expedition merited, though this well-produced book will help correct the imbalance.
The book relies heavily on the outstanding photographs of the redoubtable George Lowe, a member of the Fuchs expedition, and part of the team which placed Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on the summit of Everest. Some of the pictures were taken at –50°C (–58°F) and many are seen for the first time. Sadly, Lowe died before the book was completed, but it stands as a fine memorial to a remarkable explorer.
More than 150 colour and black-and-white images capture the superb Antarctic landscape, the perils of the long journey and the exhilaration of reaching the South Pole and completing the traverse. In addition, Lowe’s powerful portraits of his colleagues and rare images of private moments during the crossing also provide a fascinating insight into the personal side of exploration.
Lowe’s personal account of the often-troubled expedition is worthwhile in itself. However, the narrative is ably supported by a series of engaging essays by those with a unique link to Antarctic exploration, including Sir Wally Herbert, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Ken Blaiklock, Geoff Somers and Børge Ousland.
THE CROSSING OF ANTARCTICA by George Lowe and Huw Lewis-Jones, Thames & Hudson, £24.95