The conquest of Antarctica by air is one of this century's greatest exploration epics. In all its drama, tragedy and achievement it is a magnificent story - frequently heroic, regularly comic and often tragic - but at the same time a story rarely told. Men from every corner of the globe, some motivated by adventure, others by patriotism, clamoured to be among the first to fly over the last unconquered continent and claim it for their country. It began with the Australian adventurer and World War I hero, Sir Hubert Wilkins, who took off from the rough and ready airstrip on Deception Island and flew briefly above the southern ice on November 16, 1928. He was soon followed by other aviator adventurers: Admiral Richard E. Byrd, already a hero of the North Pole, and his fellow American, Lincoln Ellsworth, a swashbuckling New York millionaire who carried Wyatt Earp's gunbelt on his trailblazing flight to the Ross Sea; the Norwegian whalers and their spotting planes; and the Luft Hansa men in their big flying boats. Moments of Terror is an exciting story which takes us through the disasters and mercy dashes, the rivalries and rescues, and the chicanery and comradeship which have been a constant feature of Antarctic exploration and exploitation. With its rare photographs, many published here for the first time, and the stories of men, some modest, others brash, and their flimsy planes, this is a timely book as nations big and small attempt to resolve the future and ownership of the icy southern continent.
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