Polar Research, Volume 32, 2013.
Within the polar science community the Polar (and Geophysical) Yearsrepresent signal events. We often read, largely within geoscience literature,that those events represented positive and dramatic steps forward in internationalscience. From five recent books*two historical compilations and threepersonal narratives*augmented by interviews with a few key participants, amore cautious picture emerges, of remarkable successes but also of occasionalor even persistent missteps and deficiencies. An improved understanding of theIPY concept and experience can provide useful guidance for future polar andglobal science.