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Captain Scott Paperback – 24 May 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; 2004 reprint edition (24 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340826991
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340826997
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 3.1 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sir Ranulph Fiennes was the first man to reach both poles (by surface travel) and the first to cross the Antarctic Continent unsupported. In the 1960s he was removed from the SAS Regiment for misuse of explosives but, joining the army of the Sultan of Oman, received that country's Bravery Medal. He is the only person yet to have been awarded two clasps to the Polar medal for both Antarctic and the Arctic regions. Fiennes has led over 30 expeditions including the first polar circumnavigation of the Earth. In 1993 Fiennes was awarded the OBE because, on the way to breaking records, he has raised over £10 million for charity. In 2009 Sir Ranulph Fiennes became the oldest Briton to climb Everest. He was named Best Sportsman in the 2007 Great Britons Awards.

Product Description


No-one is better placed than Fiennes to understand what Scott may have experienced or to appreciate the enormity of his achievement. A gripping tale of courage and adventure. (Daily Mail)

A valuable corrective to the trend of Scott debunking ushered in by Roland Huntford...One by one, and with commendable attention to detail, Fiennes explodes the accumulated myths. The world will remember Scott and, to a lesser extent, Fiennes when the memory of the mean-spirited and misleading Huntford has long since melted away. (Justin Marozzi, Sunday Telegraph)

Sir Ranulph Fiennes has done Captain Scott's memory some service...he has certainly written a more dispassionate and balanced account than Huntford ever set out to do (Simon Courtauld, Spectator)

He is uniquely qualified...because only someone who has "man-hauled" across Antarctica can know what went on. Fiennes's own experiences certainly allow him to write vividly and with empathy of the hell that the men went through. He has valuable insights into the running of the Royal Geographical Society and the mounting of an expedition, and he does indeed right some wrongs. (The Sunday Times)

Book Description

The real story of one of the greatest explorers who ever lived by 'the world's greatest living explorer' (Guinness Book of Records).

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 21 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
On the cover of my copy of this book is a head and shoulders photograph of Scott which, almost eerily, reminds me of a similar study of author Ranulph Fiennes from another work. These two men have more in common than just the South Pole.

Over the years, Scott has come in for considerable criticism particularly by those who have no understanding of the subject. This can be likened to a non-driver who believes he is able to describe exactly what it is like to survive a racing car crash at over 180 mph. Personally, I want to hear the driver's account. Scott, however, did not survive his final expedition and that is why so many "non-drivers" believe themselves qualified to comment on his life, his achievements and, of course, his death - and do so from the warmth and safety of whatever centrally-heated base camp they occupy.

Such armchair experts deliberately set out to uncover whatever flaws exist in the makeup of any person who achieves greatness and often invent defects which never existed. They do so in order to reduce that person to whatever common level is occupied by themselves. Consequently, Scott has been subjected to the wrath of writers whose own understanding of hardship is limited to the inconvenience of running out of petrol on a motorway. It takes, therefore, an explorer and writer of the magnitude of Ranulph Fiennes to produce an accurate biography of Captain Scott if only because he possesses an unparalleled understanding of the subject, of the man, of the hardships and of the drive and ambition - because he too has been there and done that. Add to that, the simple fact that Ranulph Fiennes is also able to provide an outstanding "read" and this book does supreme justice to the topic.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Mar. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I believe that R Fiennes has written a very important book.
I have been collecting Antarctic literature, for the period between 1901 - 1922 since the early eighties. I have all the journals, several biographies, many first editions and even one of Scott's first expedition signed by Peter, whom I also knew and visited in Slimbridge. I was fortunate enough to spend 17 days camped, with a friend and Argentinian colleague, just a stone's throw from Scott's hut when part of the NZ Antarctic Research Team of January 1996. I spent many, and happy, hours just sitting in the hut as I had been given the key for the whole period.
All of my "knowledge", and opinions, of this period has come from the various journals and biographies written. I do not claim any expertise, just a love of the period and of Antarctica itself .
I have never been able to understand why biographers believe that there was rivalry between Scott and Shackleton or why, in order to revere one of the explorers of this time it is necessary to pour scorn on another. Why each explorer of this period cannot be admired for their own individual contributions to Antarctic exploration. For myself, I have always regarded Scott as the amateur and Amundsen as the professional, but without denigration or honour being applied to these words. Much like the Players versus the Gentlemen in sixties cricket parlance, or ProAm golf today.
There can be no doubt that Huntford did a huge disservice to the memory of Scott without really adding anything to the understanding of polar exploration. It was as unnecessary as it was transparently erroneous. I sincerely hope that Fienne's book will be widely read, it deserves to be both for the additional material and insights it has brought to the subject as well as re-dressing the balance of Scott's achievement.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Locke on 13 April 2013
Format: Paperback
Ranulph Fiennes has produced a superb biography which has done much to right the terrible wrongs wrought by the Lithuanian-South African, Roland Huntford (formerly Horwitch). Whether Huntford's motivations were a cultural revenge (both South Africa and Lithuania claim to have been sold short by the British Empire) or whether it was simply for profit, there is no doubting the intellectual bankruptcy of Huntford's work. Scott's endeavours are faithfully and comprehensively revealed by Fiennes. I am both a QC and a serving Judge and having weighed up the relative merits of Huntford and Fiennes, I must confess to a sense of embarrassment that I was at first taken in by the plausible Huntford. Happily Fiennes's immensely superior history has put me right.
Fiennes is to be congratulated on this book. It is a more important achievement than Fiennes' many explorations; it has restored the laurels to the wickedly libelled Scott.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Jennifer Warden on 11 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Oh! What an education. Explorers of today don't know they are born. The book is so graphic you can almost picture yourself there although it is hard to imagine not having the modern technology. Ranulph Fiennes himself is a wonderful man and has first hand experience of the hardships faced.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Sudworth VINE VOICE on 28 Nov. 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a biography of Captain Scott's ill fated attempt to reach the South Pole - but it does not read like a dry biography - more like a thriller. You know the ending but the way the story is written you get a real sense of just how close Scott came to getting home safely.
I would take the opinion of Ranaulph Fiennes on Scott over any of Scott's detractors because of what he has done himself - including a frank admission he would have died on one occaision but for modern communications.
This is a great story, well told , about a leader and his team who achieved so much in Antarctic exploration and died in the end attempting a feat of strength and courage that can rarely, if ever , be matched.
I'm delighted to have read this book and for its copious use of notes taken at the time to restore the reputation of a very brave man
Scotts last words in his note to the public make the book worth reading because they set his actions in context - read the book and see what I mean
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