High adventure? Or extreme insanity? Travel to the Arctic and Antarctic regions of the Earth alongside some of the 19th Century’s most intrepid and courageous explorers. This selection from the British Library’s 19th Century Collection features books about the Arctic and Antarctic regions of the Earth. Travel alongside arctic explorers venturing to the North and South Poles as they encounter ice floes, huge polar bears, native cultures, and stunningly beautiful landscapes. In their quest to explore, map, and document some of the earth’s most inhospitable environments, these men (and women) were undaunted by sub-zero temperatures, starvation, shipwreck, and waterlogged wool clothing. Included in this selection of accounts of exploration to the poles are the famous search for the Northwest Passage, descriptions of flora and fauna, journals of travel in arctic regions around the world, celebratory poems, and ethnographic studies of native cultures. Eskimo Life is a good example of this last. It is a translation (with certain “nauseous details” left out) of Fridtjof Nansen’s ethnographic study of native culture in Greenland. A Norwegian, Nansen was one of those bigger than life individuals whose biography sounds like fiction. An explorer, scientist, diplomat, and humanitarian, he led the first successful crossing of Greenland’s interior and reached the highest latitude on record traveling towards the North Pole. He designed equipment and clothing for polar travel, won the Nobel Peace Prize, and (handlebar mustache aside) could pass as a Dolce & Gabbana model. Eskimo Life, like many books in the collection, is heavily illustrated. Other highlights include A Summer Search for Sir John Franklin, a narrative of one of many searches for Sir John Franklin who disappeared, along with his ships and crew, on an Arctic expedition in 1845. (In the end, there were more lives lost in looking for Franklin than in the expedition itself.) Paradise Found is an unusual little book that tries to place the Garden of Eden at the North Pole, while Notes on the Botany of the Antarctic covers the flora found in that southernmost region. The Arctic and Antarctic regions have long captured the imagination of explorers, scientists, shippers, businessmen, ethnographers, artists, and poets. And, of course, their armchair counterparts back home. Now, at the touch of a fingertip, you can satisfy your curiosity, and experience the same adrenaline of these early explorers (well, nearly), without suffering the intense discomfort of frozen socks.