Recent Publications | December 11, 2017

Rediscovery of Lost Antarctic Chronicle

Cover 2 copy.jpgOne man’s fascinating record of four winters in the Antarctic during the 1920s has been rediscovered.

Bernard Quaritch Ltd have today published the first English translation of this compelling story. In Four Antarctic Years in the South Orkney Islands the Argentine José Manuel Moneta chronicles in captivating detail and evocative photographs the many and varied aspects of life on a Southern Ocean island which few visit even today. In 1920s Antarctica seals and penguins provide much of the food; coal and paraffin are used for heating and lighting, and electricity is a new introduction. A relief ship comes just once a year.

José Manuel Moneta’s account of the South Orkney Islands was originally written in Spanish and published in twelve editions from 1939 to 1963. This is the first English translation of what is still the only autobiographic account of the South Orkney Islands. For this edition, R.K. Headland has added copious supplementary material ranging from maps and notes to a bibliography and an index.

At the launch R.K. Headland said: “José Manuel Moneta’s book is an exceptional record of the period of Antarctic history when it was changing from the exploration of unknown regions to securing long accurate records of climatic phenomena. Such detailed records from remote polar regions are sparse and valuable as current changes become increasingly significant.  The style of life, almost a century ago, with the adoption of the very new technology of radio communication, is comprehensively described by a young man while he gained almost five years of Antarctic experience.

José Manuel Moneta’s descriptions of facilities and work on base provide fascinating details of living in such an isolated, and frozen archipelago. These appear in no comparable publications.  Cooperation with his family while editing the book is greatly appreciated, especially for the original photographs they have made available.  The book did well in Argentina and its presentation in English contributes vastly to knowledge of the remote South Orkney Islands.”

Four Antarctic Years in the South Orkney Islands: an Annotated Translation of ‘Cuatro Años en las Orcadas del Sur’ by José Manuel Moneta can be purchased online at

ISBN: 978-0-9955192-0-6         Price: £50        Pages: 440.            Binding: Paperback.