Flaws in the Ice: in search of Douglas Mawson

Scribe, 28.10.2013 - 336 Seiten

In Flaws in the Ice, prize-winning historian David Day searches for the real Douglas Mawson. After travelling south on his own six-week odyssey to the Antarctic, the author answers the difficult questions about Mawson that have hitherto lain buried — from questions about his intimate relationship with Lady Scott, and his leadership of the ill-fated Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911–14, to his conduct during the legendary trek that led to the death of his two companions. He also explores how Mawson subsequently concealed his failures and deficiencies as an expedition leader, and created for himself a heroic image that has persisted for a century.

For many decades, there has been only one published, first-hand account of the expedition — the one written and orchestrated by Mawson himself. Only recently have alternative accounts become publicly available. The most important of these is the long-suppressed diary of Mawson’s deputy, Cecil Madigan, who is scathing in his criticisms of Mawson’s abilities, achievements, and character. At the same time, other accounts have appeared from leading members of the expedition that also challenge Mawson’s official story.

In this compelling and revealing new book, David Day draws upon all this new evidence, as well as on the vast research he undertook for his international history of Antarctica, and on his own experience of sailing to the Antarctic coastline where Mawson’s reputation was first created. Flaws in the Ice will change perceptions of Douglas Mawson forever.

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Über den Autor (2013)

David Day has been a research fellow at Clare College in Cambridge, a visiting professor at University College Dublin, the University of Aberdeen, and the University of Tokyo, and an ARC senior research fellow at La Trobe University. He is currently an honorary associate at La Trobe University in Melbourne and a visiting fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra. His many books include bestselling histories of World War Two, biographies of Australian prime ministers, and a study of Winston Churchill and Robert Menzies that has been made into a television documentary. His books have won or been shortlisted for several literary prizes, with Claiming a Continent winning the non-fiction prize at the Adelaide Festival. Conquest: how societies overwhelm others has appeared to acclaim in Australia, Britain, and the United States, and has been translated into several languages. His most recent book is the widely acclaimed Antarctica: a biography.

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