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In the heroic age of polar exploration, Sir Douglas Mawson stands in the first rank. His Antarctic expeditions of 1911 14 and 1929 31 resulted in Australia claiming forty per cent of the sixth continent. The sole survivor of an epic 300-mile trek, Mawson was also a scientist of national stature. His image on banknotes and stamps reflects enduring public esteem. Yet until now there has been no comprehensive, objective biography of this tall, quiet figure. Aside from his two great expeditions, we have known remarkably little about him. Sources exist in profusion. People who knew him socially and professionally from as early as the 1920s are still alive. He kept copies of almost all his correspondence, and his papers reveal his most private self, his virtues and flaws, his social and professional circles, and the development and disintegration of his friendships. Most of this material has scarcely been touched over the years. Philip Ayres has now uncovered, from these and many other unpublished sources, a complex and interesting figure. He portrays Mawson the geo-politician with influential friends and rivals who, in 1942, offered his services to Prime Minister Curtin as Amb
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About the Author

Philip Ayres is the author of Owen Dixon, of Malcolm Fraser, of Mawson (still the only whole-of-life biography of its subject aside from Lady Mawson's), of Prince of the Church (on Cardinal Moran, the first Australian cardinal), of Fortunate Voyager- The World of Ninian Stephen and of numerous scholarly books and articles on English eighteenth-century culture including Classical Culture and the Idea of Rome in Eighteenth Century England. He is a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society of London and the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and a recipient of the Centenary Medal for contributions to literature.

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By unearthing a massive amount of new material, using thousands of previously unpublished personal letters and expeditioners' diary notes, Ayres manages to chip away the ice to reveal the man inside the well-known image of a knight in woolen armor. "The Age""

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