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Hardcover Ambassador to the Penguins: A Naturalist's Year Aboard a Yankee Whaleship Book

ISBN: 1567922465

ISBN13: 9781567922462

Ambassador to the Penguins: A Naturalist's Year Aboard a Yankee Whaleship

In 1912, a young naturalist named Robert Cushman Murphy was offered the opportunity of a lifetime - to spend a year on one of the last Yankee whaleships out of New Bedford, on a voyage to the Antarctic. During the voyage, Murphy not only collected specimens and took photographs, developing them in seawater, but kept a journal that was later published and became a bestseller. Now, Eleanor Mathews, his granddaughter, has now taken Murphy's diary and...


Format: Hardcover

Condition: Good

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Customer Reviews

2 ratings

Great book!

This book should not be overlooked! Both my husband and I read it and then bought this new for a gift!

a gorgeous book....

While my husband reads a steady and salty diet of historical sailing sagas, I generally feed on fiction. But when he finished AMBASSADOR TO THE PENGUINS, he passed the book over the wicker table that sits between our armchairs and insisted I dig in. Set in 1912-13, the book intimately follows Robert Cushman Murphy who worked as a naturalist for ten months aboard a Yankee whaleship. Under the leadership of the cranky and parsimonious Captain Cleveland, the Daisy sailed for South Georgia Island in the Antarctic waters, successfully gathering blubber and spermaceti from the hapless whales it encountered along the way, unsuccessfully hoping for the valuable ambergris.Through Murphy's meticulous observations of every albatross, cockroach, shark, and crew member, I felt as though I was on the ship with him. His delight at every encounter with the natural world---penguins, whales, leopard seals, and skua colonies---pulled me into his scientist's mind. I worried about the marooned prisoner colony on the islands of Fernando de Noronha, the slaughter of elephant seals, and the ferocious storms Murphy braved on solo trips in his dory to gather specimens. I fretted over the crews' symptoms of beriberi late in the voyage, and the disappointments at ports when Murphy got no word from home. Fortunately for all readers, the young naturalist had made the difficult decision to leave his new bride, Grace Emeline, to leave on the chance-of-a-lifetime trip. The resultant letters to Grace, from which the author (his granddaughter) produces many of his quotes, are full of celebration, despair, and humor. This gorgeous book with plenty of photographs, illustrations, and excellent writing, held me spellbound. It may take me a few days to get my land legs back under me and start to live in our "easy" century.
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