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I Am Just Going Outside: Captain Oates, Antarctic Tragedy Paperback – 12 Feb 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Spellmount Publishers Ltd; New Ed edition (12 Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862273553
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862273559
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 152,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Michael Smith gave up a 30 year career as a leading business and political journalist to write the bestselling biography, An Unsung Hero - Tom Crean. He was formerly Political Correspondent and Industrial Editor of the Guardian, City Editor of the London Evening Standard and Business Editor of the Observer. He has a long-standing interest in Polar expedition and this is his second historical biography. He lives in East Sussex.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jerzy K. on 5 Dec 2013
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A very interesting read about one of the tragic heroes of Captain Scott's second Antarctic journey, 'I am just going outside' almost makes for compulsory reading for anyone interested in this journey, along with Scott's original journals and Cherry-Garrard's 'The worst journey in the world'.
It would be perfect, if it wasn't for the final chapter. The bulk of the book appears well researched and written, the facts match those from other sources and the integrity of writing is unquestionable. However, the final handful of pages are best avoided, unless you are a fan of unfounded rumours, and suggestive and sensationalist journalism, which seriously screws up the finale.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By AnnieG on 12 Oct 2012
I found the majority of this book to be an insightful, thought-provoking and well-written account of Oates' life and death. I just wish Michael Smith had left it at that.

Then came the appendix with the allegation that Oates had fathered a child with a girl who was only eleven at the time of conception. This allegation was, naturally, picked up by the media as fact. It is far, far from fact. There is no actual evidence for it whatsoever. It hinges entirely on the fact that a girl was told by her guardian (after many years) that her father was Captain Oates. How convenient - a heroic figure who couldn't answer back and deny it. If I was a woman who had no idea who my father was and had a little dream that he may be someone great, I'd like to hear he was Captain Oates too. It seems to me that this somehow became accepted in their family, and Michael Smith got hold of it and put it in his book and got more publicity because of it.

I kept turning the pages waiting for the actual evidence. Apparently, he looked a bit like some uncle of the family. That's it.

This is a man who (and this IS documented and attested to by those who knew him) showed absolutely no interest in women or sex at all for the rest of his life. This is a man who, according to everyone who knew him, behaved with the utmost decency to all he knew from any walk of life. There is no record of him or his family having anything to do with the woman or her family at any point in his life. She lived in Scotland. There is no record of him going to Scotland at this time. There is absolutely nothing to link them at any point. The person who told the girl he was her father was only her guardian. Her mother lived near to her but never mentioned anything of the sort.
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By margaret dowley on 10 July 2013
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Interesting profile of Captain Oates. That says it all. Why is it necessary to write more about this unique book?????
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Buff Bottom on 17 July 2008
Excellent read, gave me a totally different view of the life of captain Oats, could,nt put the book down.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Barely reasonable effort but not very factual. 20 Jun 2008
By Jason Nitz - Published on Amazon.com
This book is disappointing mainly as it draws many conclusions not based on fact, but by the author's supposition - in a court of law it would be called hearsay, but in writing its called sensationalism. The book starts off well giving a good account of Oates' early life, his dominating mother and his action in the Boer War. Once it gets into the part of his life where he joins Robert Falcon Scott's expedition to Antarctica, the author overdoes the Scott vs Oates story. Many of his opinions about the relationship between the two are just that - personal opinions with no conclusive evidence to support them. A caption under a photo of the men in the Terra Nova wardroom hints that Scott is staring at Oates' with a look of derision in his eyes - how the author can tell where Scott's eyes are focused is beyond me. It's such an old photo his eyes could be looking anywhere. There are many other factual concerns such as this which really gives the book a feeling that author has something against everyone but Oates. I think the author wants us to believe there is a serious rift between Scott and Oates only because he believes there is one. Many of the comments from the men's diaries are taken out of context and used to make a point where further elaboration might have shown the truth.

The book is riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes, and even Amundsen's name is spelt wrong on the back cover.

It may be a good book on Oates' early life, but take the second half with a grain of salt - in fact a large pinch would be better (and add some pemmican). Oates, Scott and the rest of the men deserve better. No wonder there was very little assistance from the Oates family in producing the book.
Could not put it down 8 May 2010
By Marc Ranger - Published on Amazon.com
Captain Oates is know for having got out of the tent to his death in order to give his friends a chance of survival. But Laurie Oates is so much more than that. Learn about his relation with his controlling mother, his brush with death in South Africa, how he viewed Captain Scott...It's all in there.

I took 3 days to read the book, just coudn't put it down.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
What Really Happened 2 Nov 2013
By Chester Wood - Published on Amazon.com
Were you told in school about the heroism of Captain Oates who sacrificed his life in a blizzard to save his colleagues? Not the whole truth!
This is a well researched and very readable account of the ill-fated Scott expedition to the South Pole. I too read it in three days. I strongly disagree with the negative comments of another reader that appear here. There is abundant evidence in diaries and testimonies of survivors about the tensions Scott created in the group. The book is in no way sensational. Discussion of the reactions of the Oates family to the expedition and its aftermath is sensitive and honest. The Oates family had nothing to fear but the truth from biographer Michael Smith.
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