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Deep Freeze

The United States, the International Geophysical Year, and the Origins of Antarctica's Age of Science

by Dian Olson Belanger

Paperback Price $14.95
Ebook Price $22.95
30-day ebook rental price $9.99

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"[A] highly informative and readable narrative account of perhaps the single most striking international scientific endeavor of the twentieth century. . . . [A] signal contribution to the slowly developing scholarship on polar, and especially Antarctic, history. Thanks to [Belanger's] work, we now have an essential link between the Heroic Age of dashing adventure and small science and the contemporary era of permanent occupancy and probing inquiry across the entire spectrum of Earth and atmospheric sciences."
The Polar Record

"Historians should thank Belanger for taking on the daunting task of writing a history not only of the Antarctic parts of the IGY but also of the preparations and some of the after-effects. Belanger's account is indispensable as a lively history and as a resource for scholars."
—Journal of American History

"Dian Belanger has written an exciting and thought-provoking account of the U.S. Navy Seabees, flyers, and scientists who lived through and made the transition from the 'heroic' age to the 'scientific' age of Antarctic exploration. These mostly young men (no women were allowed on 'the Ice') risked lives and endured both cold and dark Antarctic winters and unimaginable isolation from the world to provide a U.S. presence on the vast, remote, ice-covered continent. Deep Freeze, based on countless interviews and painstaking research, is a timely and gripping account."
—John C. Behrendt, president of the American Polar Society and author of The Ninth Circle and Innocents on the Ice

"With its well-timed arrival on the eve of the International Polar Year 2007-2008, Deep Freeze offers a welcome and thorough new examination of America's involvement in Antarctica during the IGY, often told through the words of the participants themselves."
—Jeff Rubin, author of Lonely Planet Antarctica

"An excellent historical chronology of the United States Antarctic Program and the first establishment of permanent scientific research facilities on the continent of Antarctica. Those who brought this program to life are heroes by every definition of the word. The truly amazing stories of pioneers are chronicled in this detailed and entertaining read. Dian Belanger's countless hours interviewing living heroes who accomplished Herculean tasks give us pause to remember where this all began."
—Jerry W. Marty, National Science Foundation Representative, South Pole Station, Antarctica

"With the fifty-year anniversary of the International Geophysical Year approaching, the author has done a remarkable job in researching the IGY through archival materials and interviews with some of the major individuals involved. Writing for a wide audience, she offers in-depth discussions of U.S. preparations for stations, their construction, scientific research, winterover experiences, and the formulation of the Antarctic Treaty, the glue that holds it all together."
—John Splettstoesser, Advisor to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators

"The story of the beginning of Operation Deep Freeze has finally been told by a dynamic writer and historian."
—RMC Billy-Ace Penguin Baker, USN (retired), Vice Chairman, Antarctic Deep Freeze Association

"Deep Freeze provides a wealth of hitherto unreported history. The use of oral history accounts, diary-based material, and quotations from literature of the era is a particular strength in this major recapturing of the heady days of 1957-59. Very little comprehensive historical scholarship has been devoted to IGY since the popular preliminary accounts that appeared (by Dufek, Sullivan, Wilson, Chapman, Eklund and Beckman, etc.) in the late 1950s and early 1960s."
—Peter-Noel Webb, geologist for U.S. and New Zealand IGY expeditions and Trans-Antarctic Expedition

"In Deep Freeze, Dian Belanger has written an important book, fine and well-researched, focusing on the IGY in Antarctica (1957-1958), which led to the Antarctic Treaty."
—J. Merton England, NSF historian (retired) and author of A Patron for Pure Science

"This is a comprehensive and lively book about the people and events that transformed Antarctica into an international laboratory for science. Through their vision, courage, and willingness to work together, the people of Deep Freeze and the IGY brought about a legacy of discovery that continues today and that helps us to understand both Antarctica and the forces of global change. To tell this fascinating and important story, Dian Belanger not only used existing historical records but also added to that documentation with extensive interviews."
—Raimund E. Goerler, Chief Archivist/Byrd Polar Research Center of The Ohio State University

"Dian Belanger's account of the historical development of the early infrastructure for the American Antarctic science operation is superb. Compellingly told, the book incorporates significant research from new sources and unused collections. A must read for anyone with an interest in Antarctica and the early science it provided."
—George T. Mazuzan, NSF historian (retired)

"Dian Belanger's Deep Freeze presents science in Antarctica with fascinating perspective, present and past, all rewarding. Well documented."
—Dick Bowers, CDR CEC USN (retired), Officer in charge of construction, McMurdo and Pole Stations, Deep Freeze I and II

"The closing sentence in Dian Olson Belanger's seminal history book on Operation Deep Freeze and the International Geophysical Year is a reminder to readers that understanding the past makes one appreciate today a little bit more. In fact, throughout Belanger's nearly 500-page historical ode to the men she dubs Antarctic pioneers, she repeatedly conveys the importance of that half-century-old legacy. . . . The book chronicles the events surrounding the first coordinated effort to gain a logistical foothold in Antarctica as part of a worldwide attempt to conduct science across the continent and around the world. . . . While peppering the narrative with the occasional aside to illustrate how polar research affected everyday lives. . . Belanger never strays for long from her themes—the importance of teamwork, leadership and the peaceful, international endeavor that Antarctica has come to represent."
—Antarctic Sun


In Deep Freeze, Dian Olson Belanger tells the story of the pioneers who built viable communities, made vital scientific discoveries, and established Antarctica as a continent dedicated to peace and the pursuit of science, decades after the first explorers planted flags in the ice.

In the tense 1950s, even as the world was locked in the Cold War, U.S. scientists, maintained by the Navy's Operation Deep Freeze, came together in Antarctica with counterparts from eleven other countries to participate in the International Geophysical Year (IGY). On July 1, 1957, they began systematic, simultaneous scientific observations of the south-polar ice and atmosphere. Their collaborative success over eighteen months inspired the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, which formalized their peaceful pursuit of scientific knowledge. Still building on the achievements of the individuals and distrustful nations thrown together by the IGY from mutually wary military, scientific, and political cultures, science prospers today and peace endures.

The year 2007 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the IGY and the commencement of a new International Polar Year—a compelling moment to review what a singular enterprise accomplished in a troubled time. Belanger draws from interviews, diaries, memoirs, and official records to weave together the first thorough study of the dawn of Antarctica's scientific age. Deep Freeze offers absorbing reading for those who have ventured onto Antarctic ice and those who dream of it, as well as historians, scientists, and policy makers.


Historian Dian Olson Belanger is the author of Enabling American Innovation (Purdue University Press, 1998) and Managing American Wildlife (University of Massachusetts Press, 1988).

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  • Paperback Price: $14.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60732-066-1
  • Ebook Price: $22.95
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $9.99
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-067-8
  • Publication Year: 2010
  • Pages: 544
  • Illustrations: 34 photographs, 3 line drawings, 9 maps
  • Discount Type: Trade
  • Author: by Dian Olson Belanger
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-60732-066-1
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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