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Palgrave Macmillan

Bellingshausen and the Russian Antarctic Expedition, 1819-21

ISBN 9780230363267
Publication Date March 2014
Formats Hardcover 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

This book examines the little studied story of Bellingshausen, and includes the fullest biography of the celebrated Russian explorer ever published. By translating the official reports and other eye-witness documents from the first scientific expedition to the Antarctic of the nineteenth century, conducted 47 years after James Cook's pioneering venture in the 1770s, Bulkeley transports the reader onto HIMS Vostok, one of the most celebrated ships in the history of the Russian Navy. While her seamen marvel at the aurora and her astronomer is nearly blown overboard in a storm, her intrepid commander tacks his ship between the ice floes in zero visibility, with only the menacing sound of the breakers to guide him. The largely unknown history of the Bellingshausen voyage is comprehensively explored, with thoughtful discussion of the achievements and limitations of the expedition and suggestions for further research.

Rip Bulkeley lives in Oxford, UK, and has written studies of the arms race, the space race, and international scientific cooperation. He is a member of British Pugwash, the Hakluyt Society, and the History Expert Group of ICSU's Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. He has published several articles in Polar Record, and contributed to a recent History of the International Polar Years (Barr and Lüdecke, 2010).

Foreword, by Ian R. Stone
Acknowledgements and sources
List of abbreviations
1. Port Jackson, 1820
2. The Commander
3. Southward Ho
4. Wanted on Voyage
Translator's Note
5. First Season: December 1819 – September 1820
6. Second Season: November 1820 - August 1821
7. The Able Seaman
8. The Astronomer
9. The Lieutenant
10. Other Witnesses
11. Homecoming
12. Achievements
13. Future Research
14. Afterwords
Appendices 1-6


'An extensive compilation of annotated correspondence and reports ... which sheds new light on the first Russian expedition to Antarctica. ... Bulkeley adds his profound background knowledge, which allows the reader to dip into everyday life, scientific knowledge and the political circumstances in Russia 200 years ago.' - Cornelia Lüdecke, Convenor, SCAR History Experts Group
'An invaluable sourcebook and an exceptional contribution that substantially readjusts the historical record. ... We are given a brief informative overview – hitherto unparalleled in scope and depth – of the man's life and times. ... It is a pleasure to follow the author in this exciting piece of intellectual detective work.' - Aant Elzinga, Professor emeritus, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
'An amazing achievement.' - Ian R. Stone, Editor, Polar Record
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