Mawson's Will

Mawson's Will Cover

Mawson's Will

The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written

By Lennard Bickel; Edmund Hillary (Foreword by)

Steerforth Press, Paperback, 9781586420000, 272pp.

Publication Date: February 4, 2000


Mawson's Will is the dramatic story of what Sir Edmund Hillary calls "the most outstanding solo journey ever recorded in Antarctic history." For weeks in Antarctica, Douglas Mawson faced some of the most daunting conditions ever known to man: blistering wind, snow, and cold; loss of his companion, his dogs and supplies, the skin on his hands and the soles of his feet; thirst, starvation, disease, snowblindness - and he survived.
Sir Douglas Mawson is remembered as the young Australian who would not go to the South Pole with Robert Scott in 1911, choosing instead to lead his own expedition on the less glamorous mission of charting nearly 1,500 miles of Antarctic coastline and claiming its resources for the British Crown. His party of three set out through the mountains across glaciers in 60-mile-per-hour winds. Six weeks and 320 miles out, one man fell into a crevasse, along with the tent, most of the equipment, all of the dogs' food, and all except a week's supply of the men's provisions.
Mawson's Will is the unforgettable story of one man's ingenious practicality and unbreakable spirit and how he continued his meticulous scientific observations even in the face of death. When the expedition was over, Mawson had added more territory to the Antarctic map than anyone else of his time. Thanks to Bickel's moving account, Mawson can be remembered for the vision and dedication that make him one of the world's great explorers.

About the Author
Lennard Bickel (1913 2002) was a science writer for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in the 1960s. He was the only Australian journalist invited to witness the 1969 Apollo II moon landing from the launch site. In 1970, Bickel was awarded a Commonwealth Literary Fellowship in order to write Rise Up To Life", a biography of Howard Florey, who pioneered the development of penicillin. He subsequently wrote a number of other books that highlight remarkable human achievement: little-known epics of triumph over diversity, including This Accursed Land" (1977), about Douglas Mawson's struggle to stay alive in the Antarctic, and Triumph Over Darkness: The Life of Louis Braille" (1988). In 1974 he was made a Knight of the Order of Mark Twain for his biography of Norman Borlaug, the Nobel-winning humanitarian scientist.

Sir Edmund Percival Hillary was born in Auckland, New Zealand, on July 20, 1919. On May 29, 1953, he and Nepalese mountaineer Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. He lives in New Zealand.

Praise For Mawson's Will

Named One of the Ten Best Books of Twentieth-Century Exploration by The Explorer's Club

"The most outstanding solo journey ever recorded in Antarctic history." -- Sir Edmund Hillary

"A riveting account . . . makes Mawson's achievement a symbol of the desire to live." -- The New York Times Book Review

"A powerful reading experience." -- Publishers Weekly

"Both grim and inspiring reading." -- The Wall Street Journal