Most books about Antarctica are either about Shakleton, Scott, or Amundsen... heroic and engaging tales, but if you've got cruise tickets to go down and see the place for yourself, you're not going to see Shakleton, Scott, or Amundsen. It's nice to have a book to give you some backround about the ecosystem, the fauna, and the geography. This is a book by a present-day scientist who has lived in Antarctica studying those very things. The author addresses these topics most germane to tourists, describing the natural history of the continent to lay-people with eloquence and authority. Some reviewers rightly note the author has a condecending attitude towards Antarctic tourists, which can be off-putting, but overall it is a good read in a depleted genre.