The historical approach that marks this Asimov series doesn't give much shape or substance to his introduction to Antarctica--at least if it's Antarctica you want to find out about. Mostly this is a roll call of explorers from the time of Henry the Navigator, each one going a little further than the last one down the coast of Africa--or, later, each one discovering one more island or peninsula in the search for the Southern continent. (For all of this, extra maps might be more useful than the explorer portraits we get.) Before getting down to Amundsen and Scott, we've found out who first stood on the Antarctic continent (American seal hunter John Davis in 1821) and who first did so knowingly and inside the Antarctic circle (Norwegian whaler Leonard Kristenson in 1895). Asimov's last short chapter catalogues life forms in the Antarctic waters and ends with the peculiar hatching habits of the emperor penguin. Peripheral.?