Strong Men South.

A charming if a bit sanctimonious account of Operation Highjump by the chaplain of that 1947 expedition aboard USS Mount Olympus.

p. 15: Not least among the supplies to be brought aboard was enough religious gear and equipment to last 2000 men of the central group for five months. For the Protestant men several hundreds of New Testaments and for the Jewish men dozens of Old Testaments for Bible reading. For the Catholic men the Chaplains’ Aid Association in New York provided us with 500 Missals, 200 military Missals, a box of servicemen’s prayer books, and a supply of assorted medals and rosaries.

p. 18: My most constant work in those early days was in the library and the hobby room. Reading is the salt of any man’s life, and on this trip we had the leisure time to be salted. I knew we would have more later. We worked the library into perfect shape and began a thriving business. Our one worry was over books having to do with the Antarctic. We had to keep a very close check on these, as everyone on the ship, from the skipper to the last seaman, was hungry for information about the land into which we were moving. We had them on a reserved shelf, and it was easier to get into the captain’s safe than to get at those books. Gradually the men became used to the ways of our library, and we had little trouble with missing books. [This is a naïve and generally unbelievable picture, which I contrast to my own experience on the USS Wyandot only ten years later, where cheap fiction was the best that could be found, and no circulation system required.–DS]

p. 50—notes reliance on the library for the men’s inquisitive study of penguins.

[Menster mentions no reading of his own that I noticed, but in any case it would not be very profound—I can’t imagine a more anodyne book.]