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Outside South Africa, the fate of the Sudur Havid was never big news. It was just another foreign fishing boat in trouble. Really, I should be calling her the Sudurhavid, or even Suðurhavið, for I have come to learn that this was her proper name. But on board I only ever saw the word split on life-rings, and I’ve known her as the Sudur Havid for far too long to change. To continue with the confessional, I have used the more familiar term ‘Antarctic Seas’ for the subtitle of the book when we were technically only 54° South – but we were south of the Antarctic convergence, so the water masses and ecology are much the same.
I waited a long time before I started writing Last Man Off. Partly this was due to a lack of self-belief, but it was also because I was trying to get on with my life and forget. I was trying to persuade myself that nothing of any significance had happened, so to write a book about the events was the last thing on my mind.
I’m glad I waited to start writing. In the immediate aftermath of the accident I was so caught up in being a participant, and there was so much emotion, that it was impossible to be objective in description. When the police in the Falkland Islands asked me what had happened, I barely paused for breath for three hours, producing sixty-five pages of descriptions, times and details. I kept the transcript of the interview and, eight years later, this and other evidence helped me relive and reconstruct the events. By that time the need to blame had mellowed, I had listened to others as they discussed what had happened, and processed the events myself. Time passed has made the story clearer, and less painful to tell.
There was coverage of the Sudur Havid in Cape Town. Some accounts were based on fact, some were more like fiction, but none were complete. I slipped quietly back into the UK, no cameras or journalists waiting for me at the airport, and I was grateful. My friends and family let me be; they didn’t want to drag up traumatic memories, and assumed that I would talk about things in my own time. But I didn’t want to tell those I cared about for fear of scaring them, and didn’t tell others for fear of upsetting myself. It took years for me to realize that there was a story that deserved to be known. How could the struggle of a crew against the toughest seas in the world have slipped by? While I have been writing, a number of my fellow survivors have died, leaving the biggest story of their lives untold.
I knew that I would need to describe events that I had not directly witnessed. After years out of touch, I managed to make contact with Phil Marshall of the Isla Camila and Magnus Johnson from the Northern Pride, and met to interview them. For Phil, in particular, the memories were upsetting. It wasn’t pleasant to ask him to recall as much detail as I needed, but he helped me to describe the search and the moment of rescue.
As the book took shape, and I became more committed, I travelled to South Africa to interview some of the crew. In a series of one-on-one interviews, I checked my recollections with Morné Van Geems, Sven Lizamore and Stephan Truter from the Sudur Havid, and they described events I couldn’t have witnessed in the other raft. There were small conflicts between their memories and mine, but I expected this. They also helped me to build up a better picture of the techniques that we used in fishing, which was something I wanted to describe as vividly as I could. We sat and chatted in the shade, outside their comfortable Cape Town homes, and their stories took me back to the Southern Ocean. Their enthusiasm and drive to fish still humble and mystify me; they are fishermen to the core. By the end of the book I had also been helped by Big Danie from the Sudur Havid, and finally Captain Ernesto Sandoval from the Isla Camila.
Writing has not been the healing process I had hoped for; I have been reduced to tears on many occasions. It has been less of a catharsis and more of a self-imposed torture as I have forced myself to picture and relive painful events, again and again. I am fearful of misportraying men who were operating under great stress, and know that for some I am describing the deaths of loved ones.
I wish I had more photos, which would make the boat and the people more vivid for you and for me. But my camera is still on the Sudur Havid. Port side, aft cabin, on the main deck, in the right-hand drawer under my bunk. If anyone wants to get it for me, it’s at 53º56´S, 041º30´W.
The surprise for me, in writing, was realizing how much I miss the sea, the boat and the adventure. For a short time in the Southern Ocean, I was at my most alive, at my best.
How to Detect Extra Terrestrial Sub-Atomic Particles: the Icecube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole
Sheldon Lee Glashow, 1979 Nobel Laureate in Physics: "A page-turning chronicle of the decades-long struggle by hundreds of physicists and engineers to create a frontier laboratory for the pursuit of the new discipline of neutrino astronomy."
The Telescope in the Ice is about the building of IceCube, which Scientific American has called the "weirdest" of the seven wonders of modern astronomy. It's the inside story of the people who built the instrument, the mistakes they made, the blind alleys they went down, the solutions they found, their conflicts, and their teamwork. It's a success story.
Located at the U. S. Amundsen-Scott Research Station at the geographic South Pole, IceCube is unlike most telescopes in that it is not designed to detect light. It employs a cubic kilometer of diamond-clear ice, more than a mile beneath the surface, to detect an elementary particle known as the neutrino. In 2010, it detected the first extraterrestrial high-energy neutrinos and thus gave birth to a new field of astronomy.
Aside from being a telescope, IceCube is the largest particle physics detector ever built. Its scientific goals span not only astrophysics and cosmology but also pure particle physics. And since the neutrino is one of the strangest and least understood of the known elementary particles, this is fertile ground. Neutrino physics is perhaps the most active field in particle physics today, and IceCube is at this forefront.
This book is mainly about people and the thrill of the chase: the struggle to understand the neutrino ever since it was "invented" by the extraordinary Wolfgang Pauli in 1930, the early researchers who helped understand it, the strange things it taught them about the nature of space and time, and the pioneers and inventors of neutrino astronomy.
The immense 18th-century scientific journey, variously known as the Second Kamchatka Expedition or the Great Northern Expedition, from St. Petersburg across Siberia to the coast of North America, involved over 3,000 people and cost Peter the Great over one-sixth of his empire's annual revenue.
Until now recorded only in academic works, this 10-year venture, led by the legendary Danish captain Vitus Bering and including scientists, artists, mariners, soldiers, and laborers, discovered Alaska, opened the Pacific fur trade, and led to fame, shipwreck, and "one of the most tragic and ghastly trials of suffering in the annals of maritime and arctic history."
“A funny, witty and highly personal account.” (Sandra Dallas - Denver Post)
“Full of insights . . . Roberts captivates the reader with the thrill of finding artifacts.” (Durango Herald)
“Engaging . . . enjoyable reading.” (Alex Heard - Pasatiempo)
“Stimulating, provoking, mournful. . . . [Roberts] has a deep and infectious passion for the landscapes, history and people of the Southwest.” (Gerard Helferich - Wall Street Journal)
“An utterly fascinating, beautifully written and elegiac exploration.” (Douglas Preston, #1 New York Times best-selling author)
“[H]as the pull and excitement of a suspense novel and appeals to a wide range of readers interested in this region’s deep past and great beauty.” (Booklist, Starred review)
“The rare sequel that stands alone yet also takes its rightful place as a classic alongside its predecessor volume.” (Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Lost in Shangri-La)
“Part ethnographer, part archaeologist―with healthy doses of skeptical enquirer, curiosity seeker, and professional mountain climber mixed in―this talented writer navigates the secret canyons and hidden watercourses of the American Southwest in search of a lost civilization.” (Alex Beam, author of American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church)
About the Author: A veteran mountain climber, David Roberts is the award-winning author of Alone on the Ice, The Lost World of the Old Ones, and True Summit, and twenty-six other books about mountaineering, exploration, adventure, and Western history and anthropology. He lives in Massachusetts.
On a warm Saturday night in July 1973 in Bethesda Maryland, a gunman stepped out from behind a tree and fired five point-blank shots into Joe Alon, an unassuming Israeli Air Force pilot and family man. Alon's sixteen-year-old neighbor, Fred Burton, was deeply shocked by this crime that rocked his sleepy suburban neighborhood. As it turned out, Alon wasn't just a pilot—he was a high-ranking military official and with intelligence ties. The assassin was never found and the case was closed. In 2007, Fred Burton—who had since become a State Department counterterrorism special agent—reopened the case. Here, in Chasing Shadows, Burton spins a gripping tale of the secret agents, double dealings, terrorists and heroes he encounters he chases leads around the globe in an effort to solve this decades-old murder. From swirling dogfights over Egypt and Hanoi to gun battles on the streets of Beirut, this action-packed thriller looks in the dark heart of the Cold War to show power is uses, misused, and sold to the most convenient bidder.
Archaeologists in southern Israel say they've uncovered a young donkey that was carefully laid to rest on its side more than 3,500 years ago, complete with a copper bridle bit in its mouth and saddle bags on its back.
Its accessories — and the lack of butchery marks on its bones — lead researchers to believe the venerated pack animal was sacrificed and buried as part of a Bronze Age ritual.
Donkeys were valuable beasts of burden in the ancient Near East. Donkey caravans helped open up vast trade networks across the Levant and Anatolia in the 18th and 17th centuries B.C., according to archives from Amorite settlements like Mari in modern-day Syria. Ancient Egyptian inscriptions from around the same time show that hundreds of pack donkeys were used in large-scale expeditions to mining sites in the eastern desert and southern Sinai, researchers say.
Project Azorian: The CIA and the Raising of the K-129. by Norman C. Polmar and Michael White.
Despite incredible political, military, and intelligence risks, and after six years of secret preparations, the CIA attempted to salvage the sunken Soviet ballistic missile submarine K-129 from the depths of the North Pacific Ocean in early August 1974. This audacious effort was carried out under the cover of an undersea mining operation sponsored by eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes. “Azorian”—incorrectly identified as Project Jennifer by the press— was the most ambitious ocean engineering endeavor ever attempted and can be compared to the 1969 moon landing for its level of technological achievement.
Following the sinking of a Soviet missile submarine in March 1968, U.S. intelligence agencies were able to determine the precise location and to develop a means of raising the submarine from a depth of more than 16,000 feet. Previously, the deepest salvage attempt of a submarine had been accomplished at 245 feet. The remarkable effort to reach the K-129, which contained nuclear-armed torpedoes and missiles as well as cryptographic equipment, was conducted with Soviet naval ships a few hundred yards from the lift ship, the Hughes Glomar Explorer.
While other books have been published about this secret project, none has provided an accurate and detailed account of this remarkable undertaking. To fully document the story, the authors conducted extensive interviews with men who were on board the Glomar Explorer and the USS Halibut, the submarine that found the wreckage, as well as with U.S. naval intelligence officers and with Soviet naval officers and scientists.
The authors had access to the Glomar Explorer’s logs and to other documents from U.S. and Soviet sources. The book is based, in part, on the research for Michael White's ground-breaking documentary film, Azorian: The Raising of the K-129, released in late 2009. As a result of the research for the book and the documentary film, the CIA reluctantly issued a report on Project Azorian in early 2010, even though they tried to withhold details that were in that brief document from the public record by redacting one-third of it. In this book, the story of the CIA’s Project Azorian is finally revealed after decades of secrecy.
In the first authoritative biography of Alexander the Great written for a general audience in a generation, classicist and historian Philip Freeman tells the remarkable life of the great conqueror. The celebrated Macedonian king has been one of the most enduring figures in history.
He was a general of such skill and renown that for two thousand years other great leaders studied his strategy and tactics, from Hannibal to Napoleon, with countless more in between. He flashed across the sky of history like a comet, glowing brightly and burning out quickly: crowned at age nineteen, dead by thirty-two. He established the greatest empire of the ancient world; Greek coins and statues are found as far east as Afghanistan. Our interest in him has never faded.
Alexander was born into the royal family of Macedonia, the kingdom that would soon rule over Greece. Tutored as a boy by Aristotle, Alexander had an inquisitive mind that would serve him well when he faced formidable obstacles during his military campaigns.
Shortly after taking command of the army, he launched an invasion of the Persian empire, and continued his conquests as far south as the deserts of Egypt and as far east as the mountains of present-day Pakistan and the plains of India. Alexander spent nearly all his adult life away from his homeland, and he and his men helped spread the Greek language throughout western Asia, where it would become the lingua franca of the ancient world. Within a short time after Alexander’s death in Baghdad, his empire began to fracture. Best known among his successors are the Ptolemies of Egypt, whose empire lasted until Cleopatra.
In his lively and authoritative biography of Alexander, classical scholar and historian Philip Freeman describes Alexander’s astonishing achievements and provides insight into the mercurial character of the great conqueror. Alexander could be petty and magnanimous, cruel and merciful, impulsive and farsighted.
Above all, he was ferociously, intensely competitive and could not tolerate losing—which he rarely did. As Freeman explains, without Alexander, the influence of Greece on the ancient world would surely not have been as great as it was, even if his motivation was not to spread Greek culture for beneficial purposes but instead to unify his empire. Only a handful of people have influenced history as Alexander did, which is why he continues to fascinate us.