A "remarkable memoir" (Nature) of life with an emperor penguin colony, gorgeously illustrated with 32 pages of exclusive photography
For 337 days, award-winning wildlife cameraman Lindsay McCrae intimately followed 11,000 emperor penguins amid the singular beauty of Antarctica. This is his masterful chronicle of one penguin colony’s astonishing journey of life, death, and rebirth—and of the extraordinary human experience of living amongst them in the planet’s harshest environment.
A miracle occurs each winter in Antarctica. As temperatures plummet 60° below zero and the sea around the remote southern continent freezes, emperors—the largest of all penguins—begin marching up to 100 miles over solid ice to reach their breeding grounds. They are the only animals to breed in the depths of this, the worst winter on the planet; and in an unusual role reversal, the males incubate the eggs, fasting for over 100 days to ensure they introduce their chicks safely into their new frozen world.
My Penguin Year recounts McCrae's remarkable adventure to the end of the Earth. He observed every aspect of a breeding emperor's life, facing the inevitable sacrifices that came with living his childhood dream, and grappling with the personal obstacles that, being over 15,000km away from the comforts of home, almost proved too much. Out of that experience, he has written an unprecedented portrait of Antarctica’s most extraordinary residents.
About the Author
LINDSAY MCCRAE won the 2019 BAFTA Award for factual photography. Raised in England's Lake District, he has been filming wildlife professionally for more than ten years, from Alaska to Antarctica, from the Scottish Highlands to the rainforests of Indonesia. He was director of photography on BBC Studios's Dynasties: Emperor, narrated by Sir David Attenborough.
“A remarkable memoir. … Amid ice, whales, petrels, seals and vast shoals of fish, McCrae followed thousands of emperor penguins for nearly a year. … Most gripping are his fine-tuned observations of these beautiful metre-high birds.”
"Reveals the brutal beauty of Antarctica and its most beloved creature."
— Christian Science Monitor
“Twelve men have walked on the moon. But how many have spent an entire season with the Emperors in the frozen south? Lindsay McCrae has, and this is his wonderful story–a dramatic saga forged by passion, honesty, and rare skill.”
— Chris Packham, BBC Springwatch presenter
“A gorgeously illustrated memoir.”
— Telegraph (UK)
"McCrae shares the joy and heartbreak of filming the penguins. ... With beautiful descriptions of the stark landscape, harsh weather conditions, challenges of filming, and isolation during the dark Antarctica winter, this work lovingly and accurately details emperor penguin behavior in an engaging memoir that will appeal to wildlife enthusiasts, adventurers, and armchair travelers."
— Library Journal
“A touching story of courage, survival and persistence, My Penguin Year is a must-read for nature lovers and those who enjoy a stirring memoir.”
"Delightful and picturesque. ... It's hard not to be enchanted."
— Washington Independent Review of Books
"Unforgettable. ... Readers will laugh, cry, wince, and even bristle at the incredible word-pictures McCrae paints of the birds' courting, births, and deaths."
“A stunning and often gut-churning account of the lifecycle of thousands of emperor penguins. … An unforgettable, intimate story of survival.”
— Shelf Awareness