Quest for Antarctica
(2007)

John F. Barell became fascinated with Antarctic exploration early in life and sailed there with the U.S. Navy after college. For years afterward as an educator in public schools, at university levels and as a national consultant, Antarctica has served as his model for being inquisitive, forming communities of trust, and making our way in life.

Reviews | Table of Contents
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Little America, 1928-1930


Reviews

John Barell’s book is a rich and ripping read that will not only captivate but also educate its audience. The book is a personal journey, guiding the reader through the life of the author and his Antarctic fascination. It explores how a young man developed an abiding interest that drew him ever southward to the Antarctic; this human story is both moving and insightful, coming as it does from the unique perspective of an educator. It also is a tall tale of human exploration of the continent itself, probing its geography and history, and providing a first person account of a remarkable journey in that most forbidding yet enticing land. And finally, it is a slice of life in the Navy during an epoch era, touching on a diverse canvas of naval history and its central role in the U.S. involvement in the Antarctic. Anybody who has ever been a parent will come away moved. Anybody who has ever been to Antarctica will come away with new perspectives on the continent they thought they understood.

  • Dr. Susan Solomon, Antarctic scientist (NOAA), Nobel laureate (with IPCC) 2007, National Medal of Science winner (1999) and author of The Coldest March—Scott’s Fatal Antarctic Expedition, 2001.


John’s book . . .shows that encountering the Antarctic, reading histories of Antarctic exploration, and serving in the navy teach lessons for living that are transferable to other life situations. Through his own experiences, his failures as well as his successes, John stresses the importance of continually asking questions and highlights the need to be bold, courageous, and willing to test oneself.

  • Eugene Rodgers, historian and author of Beyond the Barrier—The Story of Byrd’s First Expedition to Antarctica, 1990


Having “been there and done that” I can attest to Mr. Barell’s accounts of the “Roaring 40s” and “Furious 50s” as the USS Glacier made her way south from Christchurch, New Zealand to the Antarctic ice pack. Mr. Barell’s quality narratives are a result of his profound examination of the historic record of Antarctica. . . His desire to explore the danger and sense of adventure of the early Antarctic heroes is juxtaposed with his personal “explorations” of life’s mysterious paths and this results in a terrific and educational read.

  • Commander Don Epperson USNR, (Ret)—Veteran of two Antarctic cruises ( Operation Deep Freeze) and Communications Officer, USS Glacier.


Quest for Antarctica is a fascinating and candid account of Antarctic exploration, taking us aboard the USS Glacier as it pushes its way south during Operation Deep Freeze in 1963. While these waters have been the inspiration for hundreds of polar narratives, this story has unexpected routes: back in time to reconsider the polar expeditions of Admiral Byrd and their importance to a young man weathering his own psychological storms. . . Barell brings to life his struggle to reconcile the myth of Admiral Byrd with the flawed man who once ruled Little America.

  • Dr. Michael Robinson, polar historian and author of The Coldest Crucible— Arctic Exploration and American Culture, 2006.


Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ............................................................................... xiii
Preface ...................................................................................................xvii

P ART I: THE DREAM

Chapter One Glacier Sails South ............................................................. 3
Chapter Two Calibrating Imagination ..................................................... 25
Chapter Three “Stately White Caravels” from Little America............... 33
Chapter Four Through the Pack—“Balls to the Wall!” .......................... 43
Chapter Five Sea Life—Adelies, Weddells and Killers ....................... 52
Chapter Six The Immensity! ...................................................................... 61
Chapter Seven “Don’t Try, Dammit! Do it!” ............................................. 76
Chapter Eight Bud Waite and the Truth.................................................... 85
Chapter Nine The Uniqueness of Snowflakes ...................................... 93
Chapter Ten Vostok—Near the Point of Inaccessibility........................ 104
Chapter Eleven Grains of Sand like the Gobi Desert............................ 109

PART II: NEW HORIZONS

Chapter Twelve Running Aground ........................................................... 117
Chapter Thirteen Panama Dictator Torrijos ........................................... 126

PART III: BEYOND THE BARRIER

Chapter Fourteen “Terrified of Flying”...................................................... 135
Chapter Fifteen Remembering 22 November, 1963 ........................... 142
Chapter Sixteen At Last a Reckoning ...................................................... 146
Chapter Seventeen The Infinite Sandbox................................................ 150
Afterword A View from the Conning Tower ............................................. 159
About the Author .......................................................................................... 173

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