Research Blog Antarctica #114: Little America

Non-fiction: Richard E. Byrd: Little America (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1930)

Little America is the U.S. explorer Richard Byrd’s account of his first Antarctic expedition. I’ve written before about Byrd’s two other Antarctic books, the account of the second expedition, called Discovery, and the account of Byrd’s winter alone (called Alone) in the Antarctic, also his best book. I’ve also written about the documentary With Byrd at the South Pole, documenting the same expedition as Little America.

The name of the book comes from the name of Byrd’s main expedition base on Antarctica. I don’t have a cover image because the copy I have is a ramshackle first edition that doesn’t really have cover graphics of any kind.

Little America is a thorough but workmanlike depiction of Byrd’s expedition. We learn that all of his men were great and that he’s grateful for his sponsors. In places it’s almost like an official report. In scale, Byrd’s operation is much bigger than that of predecessor’s like Scott and Amundsen, and unlike many of his peers, Byrd was there almost purely for the science.

Despite the general dryness of the book, the flight over the South Pole is interesting stuff.

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