This collection of tales of derring-do is easy to read, and each episode is told with Oliver's trademark enthusiasm and his obvious admiration for the heros involved. Despite the male-ness of the title it's equally rewarding for females to read -- it's just that the subjects of these adventures are mainly men.
The cover depicts the epic journey which Scott made to conquer the Antarctic, and that story provides the backbone which runs through the book. Scott's life story is told in segments, leading up to his fateful, final expedition. It's interspliced with other stand-alone epiosdes of heroic endeavour, many of which serve to illustrate one aspect of Scott's accomplishment.
So we also read about the 300 Spartans at Thermopyle, the pilots of the Battle of Britain, the lifeboatmen of Penlee, Ernest Shackleton, the French Foreign Legion, the Light Brigade and another half-dozen examples of heroic conduct plucked from the pages of history. All of it is delivered at something of a dash, creating easily-digested individual stories which are heavy on action and spiced with a little modern interpretation.
None of this is ground-breaking but it is a corking good read. At times the device of splitting up Scott's story doesn't work so well -- in fact, it makes the most important tale in the book feel somewhat disjointed, and reduced the eventual impact of the episode. That's the worst complaint, though.
Neil Oliver doesn't pretend to have any of the qualifications of the heros he describes, but he obviously admires the Britons who were prepared to sacrifice all for their countrymen and colleagues. I also liked the fact that he returns to the theme of 'Britishness' in his comments.
Recommended for all ages and both genders; very useful as a way to introduce younger folks to a bit of history. Perfect for long air flights, too!