The selection of Antarctica books is as vast as the white continent itself. Below our experts list our hand picked lists of the best Antarctica books. This comprehensive list includes essential Antarctica reading, books about Earnest Shackleton and the Endurance, books about Antarctic exploration, field guides, cruising and travel guides, Antarctica coffee table books and Antarctica maps.

Reading books about Antarctica will inspire you to travel there or increase your understanding and appreciation when you visit. Our experts share their favorites in this comprehensive Antarctica reading list.

IN THIS POST – ANTARCTIC BOOKS & MAPS
Best Antarctica Books – Essential Reading
Antarctica Books – Recommended Reading
Books about Shackleton & Endurance
Antarctica Field Guides
Antarctica Cruise & Travel Guides
Antarctica Coffee Table Books
Antarctica Maps
Antarctica Travel Resources

Best Antarctica Books – Essential Reading

There is a massive library of Antarctica books. Choosing the best books for an upcoming Antarctic cruise is a challenge. Below our experts have narrowed down the 5 most essential books about Antarctica. These selections are perfect for anyone traveling to Antarctica.

Endurance, Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage

Alfred Lansing

Experience one of the greatest adventure stories of the modern age in this New York Times bestseller: the harrowing tale of British explorer Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 attempt to reach the South Pole.


The Lost Men: The Harrowing Saga of Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party

Kelly Tyler-Lewis

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic endeavor is legend, but for sheer heroism and tragic nobility, nothing compares to the saga of the Ross Sea party. The untold story of the last odyssey of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration.


Antarctica: A Guide to the Wildlife

Tony Soper

Updated throughout, the 7th edition of Bradt’s Antarctica: a Guide to Wildlife is the most practical guide to the flora and fauna available for those ‘going south’.


Antarctica Cruising Guide

Peter Carey, Craig Franklin

Packed with breathtaking color photographs, wildlife descriptions, and detailed area maps, this bestselling Antarctica travel guide includes fascinating, full accounts of interesting places, spectacular landscapes, and local plants and wildlife. A definitive field guide to Antarctica, this book caters to South Pole visitors traveling by luxury liner, adventure cruise, or private boat.


Antarctic Explorer Map; (Ocean Explorer Maps)

Ocean Explorer Maps

This is an excellent foldout map of Antarctica. On one side there is a map of the Antarctic continent, around which succinct biographies of Antarctic explorers. On the other side there are many fine color photographs of seals, penguins and other Antarctic wildlife, together with an inset box summarizing the Antarctic Treaty and other information on Antarctic waters. It is aimed at visitors arriving by sea.


Explore the vast world of Antarctic books with our list of further recommended reading. These Antarctic books cover a variety of topics from personal memoirs to expedition accounts and scientific discoveries. Some of the best Antarctic expedition books are among our selections, though we have singled out Shackleton books in its own section below. These books about Antarctica are the prefect companion to anyone visiting Antarctica.

Lost Antarctica, Adventures in a Disappearing Land

James McClintock

A marine biologist who first traveled to the Kerguelen Islands 30 years ago, James McClintock offers an intimate tour of the continent and his many voyages south, covering his field seasons at Palmer and McMurdo, his work on marine invertebrates and looming environmental challenges with equal, feet-on-the-ground aplomb.


Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent

Gabrielle Walker

Drawing on her broad travels across the continent, in Antarctica Gabrielle Walker weaves all the significant threads of life on the vast ice sheet into an intricate tapestry, illuminating what it really feels like to be there and why it draws so many different kinds of people.


Blue Ice: Travels in Antarctica

Don Pinnock

Award-winning nature photographer Alex Bernasconi explores the harsh climates and extreme conditions of the Antarctic through awe-inspiring panoramas, giving due attention to the diversity and resiliency of the native species.


Fraser’s Penguins: Warning Signs from Antarctica

Fen Montaigne

Called “exceptionally poignant” by Nature magazine, Fen Montaigne’s sensitive and timely account of five months in Antarctica gives a taste of the global changes that will soon arrive in our own backyards.


Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica

Sara Wheeler

This is a book about the call of the wild and the response of the spirit to a country that exists perhaps most vividly in the mind. Sara Wheeler spent seven months in Antarctica, living with its scientists and dreamers. No book is more true to the spirit of that continent–beguiling, enchanted and vast beyond the furthest reaches of our imagination.


The Worst Journey in the World (Illustrated Edition): Memoirs: The 1910–1913 British Antarctic Expedition

Apsley Cherry-Garrard

The Worst Journey in the World is a memoir of Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated 1910-1913 expedition to the South Pole. It was written by a member of the expedition, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, and has earned wide praise for its frank treatment of the difficulties of the expedition, the causes of its disastrous outcome, and the meaning (if any) of human suffering under extreme conditions.


1912: The Year the World Discovered Antarctica

Chris Turney

1912: The Year the World Discovered Antarctica revisits the exploits of these different expeditions. Looking beyond the personalities and drawing on his own polar experience, Chris Turney shows how their discoveries marked the dawn of a new age in our understanding of the natural world.


Aerial Exploration in the Antarctic, The Flight to the South Pole

Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr.

American hero and explorer Admiral Richard E. Byrd, Jr. tells the story of his first journey through Antarctica and the founding of a series of camps and bases referred to as “Little America.”


Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure

Richard E. Byrd

When Admiral Richard E. Byrd set out on his second Antarctic expedition in 1934, he was already an international hero for having piloted the first flights over the North and South Poles. His plan for this latest adventure was to spend six months alone near the bottom of the world, gathering weather data and indulging his desire “to taste peace and quiet long enough to know how good they really are.” But early on things went terribly wrong.


The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen

Stephen R. Brown

The Last Viking unravels the life of the man who stands head and shoulders above all those who raced to map the last corners of the world.


The South Pole: Account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the “Fram,” 1910–1912

Roald Amundsen

The South Pole is a book by Roald Amundsen and it represents an interesting first-hand account of the Norwegian expedition’s successful attempt to reach the South Pole in 1911.


The South Pole: Complete and Unabridged with Illustrations, Charts, Maps and Appendices

Roald Amundsen

This superb edition of The South Pole contains all of the original and essential photographs, charts, maps and appendices from the Amundsen expedition.


Mawson’s Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written

Lennard Bickel

Mawson’s Will is the dramatic story of what Sir Edmund Hillary calls “the most outstanding solo journey ever recorded in Antarctic history”.


The Last Place on Earth: Scott and Amundsen’s Race to the South Pole

Roland Huntford

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the South Pole was the most coveted prize in the fiercely nationalistic modern age of exploration. In the brilliant dual biography, the award-winning writer Roland Huntford re-examines every detail of the great race to the South Pole between Britain’s Robert Scott and Norway’s Roald Amundsen.

Race to the Pole: Tragedy, Heroism, and Scott’s Antarctic Quest

Ranulph Fiennes

The real story of Captain Robert Scott’s legendary Antarctic quest, told by the man whom the Guinness Book of World Records has proclaimed “the world’s greatest living explorer”


Mind Over Matter

Ranulph Fiennes

An adventurer describes his arduous journey across the wilderness of Antarctica, offering a narrative of the physical and mental challenges faced by his expedition


Forgotten Footprints: Lost Stories in the Discovery of Antarctica

John Harrison

A mix of history, geography, myth, and personal truth, this book explores the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, and the Weddell Sea—the most visited places in Antarctica.


Best Books About Earnest Shackleton & The Endurance

There is an entire sub-genera of Antarctic books about Shackleton’s ill fated and heroic expedition aboard the Endurance. The best book about Shackleton is Alfred Lansing’s Endurance. Keep reading for our top picks of Shackleton books.

Endurance

Alfred Lansing

Lansing’s gripping day-by-day story of Shackleton’s legendary perseverance is essential reading for any
Antarctic traveler. Outfitted with maps, an expanded selection of Frank Hurley’s photographs and an introduction by Nathaniel Philbrick. Endurance is the best book about Earnest Shackleton and the Endurance.


South (Shackleton’s Last Expedition): Illustrated 100th Anniversary Edition

Ernest Shackleton

A special edition of the adventure survival classic, this work pairs Shackleton’s original chronicle with photos by expedition photographer Frank Hurley.


The Lost Men: The Harrowing Saga of Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party

Kelly Tyler-Lewis

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic endeavor is legend, but for sheer heroism and tragic nobility, nothing compares to the saga of the Ross Sea party. The untold story of the last odyssey of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration.


The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition

Caroline Alexander

Drawing upon previously unavailable sources, Caroline Alexander gives us a riveting account of Shackleton’s expedition one of history’s greatest epics of survival. And she presents the astonishing work of Frank Hurley, the Australian photographer whose visual record of the adventure was never before published comprehensively.


Chasing Shackleton: Re-creating the World’s Greatest Journey of Survival

Tim Jarvis

In this extraordinary adventure memoir and tie-in to the PBS documentary, Tim Jarvis, one of the world’s leading explorers, describes his modern-day journey to retrace, for the first time ever—and in period clothing and gear—the legendary 1914 expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton.


Shackleton’s Heroes: The Epic Story of the Men Who Kept the Endurance Expedition Alive

Wilson McOrist

The Unbelievable Story of Six Men Who Trekked Across the Great Ice Barrier in Support of Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition


Best Antarctica Field Guides

A good field guide is essential for anyone interested in Antarctic animals, birds and geography. Our experts present the best Antarctic field and identification guides for your next expedition.

Antarctica: A Guide to the Wildlife

Tony Soper

Updated throughout, the 7th edition of Bradt’s Antarctica: a Guide to Wildlife is the most practical guide to the flora and fauna available for those ‘going south’.


A Complete Guide to Antarctic Wildlife

Hadoram Shirikai

This spectacularly illustrated book is the only complete guide to the
wildlife and natural history of the vast and beautiful Antarctic
region.


Penguins: The Ultimate Guide

Tui De Roy, Mark Jones, Julie Cornthwaite

An acclaimed photographic guide to these marvelous and enigmatic birds―now in a new, updated edition


Antarctic Wildlife: A Visitor’s Guide

James Lowen

Produced by a shipboard naturalist, this handy identification guide focuses on the Beagle Channel, Drake and Peninsula regions.


Antarctic Wildlife: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species of the Antarctic and Subantarctic Environments

James Kavanaugh

Antarctic Wildlife is a pocket reference guide to more than 120 of the most common species of marine birds, whales, seals, fishes and marine invertebrates found in this remote region. Beautiful illustrations and detailed descriptions highlight the distinguishing features of the familiar species eco-tourists are most likely to see on land and at sea during their visit


Best Antarctica Travel & Cruising Guides

Even when you book with an award winning travel company like AdventureSmith Explorations, a good Antarctica guide book can enhance your experience with background information, historical and scientific anecdotes and travel insights. These are the best Antarctica cruising guide and travel books.

Antarctic Peninsula: A Visitor’s Guide

British Antarctic Survey

Fully revised with a new chapter on climate change and updated and expanded maps. Focusing on the geography and physical phenomena of this remote region, this book contains all the information visitors will need during their trip.


Antarctica Cruising Guide

Peter Carey, Craig Franklin

Packed with breathtaking color photographs, wildlife descriptions, and detailed area maps, this bestselling Antarctica travel guide includes fascinating, full accounts of interesting places, spectacular landscapes, and local plants and wildlife. A definitive field guide to Antarctica, this book caters to South Pole visitors traveling by luxury liner, adventure cruise, or private boat.


Lonely Planet Antarctica

Alexis Averbuck, Cathy Brown

Lonely Planet Antarctica’s your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you.


Best Antarctica Coffee Table & Photography Books

Antarctica will inspire you with remarkable landscapes, nature and wildlife. An Antarctica photography book is the best way to bring home a reminder of its beauty. Our experts hand picked our favorite Antarctica coffee table books. These are the large format books we keep around our office to inspire our staff and clients. Enjoy Antarctica from the comfort of your living room.

Antarctica: The Waking Giant

Sebastian Copeland, Leonardo DiCaprio

Winner of three 2020 International Photography Awards and named Photographer of the Year from the Tokyo International Awards, explorer Sebastian Copeland’s stunning photography delivers unparalleled access to the least explored continent on Earth and galvanizes our awareness of the threats of global warming.


Antarctica

Arnold Zageris

Breathtaking in its superlatives, Antarctica mesmerizes visitors with its compelling beauty, awe-inspiring landscapes and imposing grandeur.


Southern Light: Images from Antarctica

David Neilson

A photo book of exceptional quality, depicting the awe-inspiring scenery and wildlife of the frozen continent in both color and black and white.


Penguins of the World

Wayne Lynch

Lynch weaves delightful tales of penguins, their habitats and habits, with hundreds of glorious full-color photographs.


Best Antarctica Maps

A good map is a fun way to plan and document your Antarctica travels. These Antarctica maps will help you track your route and learn more about the history, wildlife and landscape. And a paper Antarctica map works great on the open seas, when there is no WiFi. Below find the best Antarctica maps for your next adventure.

Antarctic Explorer Map; (Ocean Explorer Maps)

Ocean Explorer Maps

This is an excellent foldout map of Antarctica. On one side there is a map of the Antarctic continent, around which succinct biographies of Antarctic explorers. On the other side there are many fine color photographs of seals, penguins and other Antarctic wildlife, together with an inset box summarizing the Antarctic Treaty and other information on Antarctic waters. It is aimed at visitors arriving by sea.


Antarctic Continent Waterproof Exploration Map

Sergio Zagier

Detailed map including the historical approaches and penetration routes to the White Continent. Sites and stations.


South Georgia : Explorer (Ocean Explorer Maps)

Ocean Explorer Maps

A fold-out visitor’s map (scale 1: 250 000), that measures approximately 75 x 46 cm (W x H) when unfolded. Colour photos and text highlight major visitor sites. There are several information boxes giving an overview of the island’s history and wildlife, notable people in the island’s history and a time line from 1675 to 2010.

Falkland Islands Explorer Map

Ocean Explorer Maps

This fine map in the excellent “Ocean Explorer” series covers the Falkland Islands region. Produced in the same format as the previous maps in the series, one side provides a detailed map of the islands with key areas identified, while the other side presents information of the areas wildlife, geography and history, along with providing a town plan to Stanley.

Have a favorite Antarctica book that is not listed here? Have a question or comment about our Antarctica book recommendations? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.