London: Heinemann, 1915. First UK edition. Hardcover. Douglas Mawson, a veteran of Ernest Shackleton's "Nimrod" expedition (1907-09), returned to Australia and was selected to lead the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-14. Mawson's tale is one of the great stories of survival of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration.
Exploring with Ninnis & Mertz in 1912, Ninnis was lost down a crevasse. With him went the 6 fittest dogs & the most indispensable supplies. Mertz & Mawson improvised, feeding the dogs worn out mitts & raw-hide straps, but eventually the weakest dogs were killed to feed them all, until all the dogs were gone. The two men reserved the dog's livers as the meat easiest to chew, unaware that liver's toxins were slowly poisoning the men as they consumed it. Mertz became delirious and died. Mawson continued, the soles of his feet separating and his toes and fingers festering. Miraculously he found a depot of food, and arrived eventually at the main depot, to see the ship departing on the horizon. He wintered over with the 6 men who had remained to continue the search. On Dec. 24, 1913 their 2 year journey was finally over.
2 volumes, 349 pp & 338 pp, 224 ills., 37 ills. in text, and 3 folding maps. Collated complete. The primary binding in navy buckram with the title & illustration stamped in gold, illustration in silver gilt of "Leaning on the Wind" on the front board.
Gilt sunned at spine, spine tips very lightly rubbed, spine and rear board cloth slightly rippled (Vol II), silver gilt lightly rubbed; sml. crack bottom of vol. 1 hinges. Top edge faintly pale blue, conforming to Rosove 217.A1.b. Overall a bright copy. Spence 774, Taurus 100, Conrad p20. Very good - condition. Item #23964