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The Longitude Blog

Bay of Isles, South Georgia
Kindly Contributed by Nigel Sitwell, publisher of the Ocean Explorer maps.
Antarctica is one of the world's most exciting and unspoiled wilderness areas, with a range of memorable places to visit. But my favorite spot is not in Antarctica itself but on the coast of South Georgia. This large island is north of 60 degrees South, and thus outside the political realm of the Antarctic Treaty, but it does lie within the biological realm encompassed by the Antarctic Convergence. South Georgia is blessed with majestic scenery and a surprising variety of wildlife and plants.
Longitude’s New Intern
Axel Wilhite, most recently of NYU, where he graduated with a MFA in creative writing, charmed us during the interview process by choosing to blurb Frans Gunnar Bengtsson's newly re-released The Long Ships. He's also a fan of Kurosawa (we sent him off with a copy of Dersu the Trapper) and team captain of the Kendo Club. He'll be working with editor Catherine on creating reading guides for our partners, fine-tuning our recommendations and, we hope, adding to our expertise in myths, an interest of his. Here's his
The Traveller’s Tree
Patrick Leigh FermorHaiti features prominently in Patrick Leigh Fermor's effortlessly erudite chronicle of a hop, skip and jump around the Caribbean with two friends (including Joan, later his wife), originally published in 1950. Just out in a new edition, the book offers the twin pleasures of a portrait of the islands before the advent of modern tourism (the threesome stayed in manor houses, not in resorts) and of PLF's razor-sharp opinions. Barbados, for example he found dull, staid, compared to the multi-hued glories (and people) of Trinidad. "We took advantage of an introduction from friends in England," he reports in his chapter on Dominica. 'If you want to see the Caribs,' Mrs.
The Great White Bear
A journalist who has previously written about Greenpeace, whales and polar regions, Mulvaney brings perspective and experience to this report on the natural history and conservation of the polar bear, tracking the icy wanderer from Barrow to Greenland and the Hudson Bay. With a long section on Churchill, he includes interviews with leading researchers and many terrific bear stories.
Happy New Year
kiboHere's our Holiday schedule. Longitude will be closed Friday December 24, Monday December 27 and Tuesday December 28, back for a visit on Wednesday and Thursday, December 29-30, then closed on Friday December 31. On Monday January 3 we return to work, alas, from Arizona, Vermont, Massachusetts and Brooklyn. Wishing you peace and joy, along with good reading and travels, in the New Year!
Winter
It's official: winter is here -- heralded by a lunar eclipse on December 21st no less. For the naturalist in your life, we suggest Bernd Heinrich's Winter World or Peter Marchand's excellent introduction to winder ecology, Life in the Cold. The there's Winter Wheat, Mildred Walker's classic memoir of coming of age on a Montana farm in the 1940s. Or
Material World
Peter Menzel Bhutan FamilyIt's back! The excellent book that launched a series (Peter Menzel and Faith Faith D'Aluisio have continued their globe-trotting career with Women in the Material World, What the World Eats and, most recently, What I Eat, Around the World in 80 diets).  An inspired idea, Material World documents 30 families around the world, each with all their possessions artfully arrayed around them and accompanied by a six-to-eight page photo-essay.  The cumulative impact of the photographs, biographical and social detail is fascinating -- and an excellent lesson in social geography.
Mapped Out
London, Paris, Rome, Venice and Vienna too. Melissa Biggs Bradley and colleagues at the savvy travel web site Indagare (Melissa was previously the travel editor at Town & Country) have produced this series of mapguides, featuring "The Essential 3-Day Itinerary for Families.
The Way of Herodotus
A Penguin Classics edition of The Histories in hand, Justin Marozzi journeys from Herodotus' home town of Halicarnassus (now known as Bodrum), to Baghdad, Babylon, Egypt, Athens and the Peloponnese, weaving tales of his hero with erudite and entertaining modern travel. He even stops to have lunch (and a good deal of Retsina) with the British author Patrick Leigh Fermor ("one of the finest writers in the English language") at his home in Kardamyli.
Sulawesi, Indonesia

The Darwinian Tourist, Viewing the World through Evolutionary Eyes (SCI291, $34.95)

Lucky dog! Popular professor of ecology Chris Wills gets paid to do research in places like Sulawesi (see below), Madagascar's Ranomafana National Park and the rainforests in Borneo, all included in this illustrated account of ecological adventures and the richness of an evolutionary perspective. Sulawesi, Indonesia