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Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard Paperback – 31 Oct 2002


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Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard + The Worst Journey In The World (Vintage Classics) + An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean - Antarctic Survivor
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (31 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099437538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099437536
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Accomplishes what only the best biographies can" (The Times)

"Beautiful...written with unfailing eloquence and grace, and great admiration for its subject" (Independent)

"Brilliantly succeeds not only in brining this modest man disarmingly to life but also in recreating the England of his time and social setting...a formidable accomplishments" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Beautifully written... Wheeler's vocabulary to evoke this luminous and cruel continent appears limitless" (New York Times)

"With this wonderful biography Sara Wheeler has now vaulted into the front rank of modern British writers...this volume is so much more than a story of one remarkable man. It is among other things an exploration of the mind, a tour through the notions of national identity and pride, and a celebration of the tensile strength of the human spirit" (Simon Winchester)

Book Description

A brilliant biography of the youngest member of Captain Scot's final expedition to the Antarctic.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By C. Nation on 18 Aug 2007
Format: Paperback
Apsley Cherry Garrard wrote the finest book ["The Worst Journey In The World"] ever to have come out of polar exploration. As a member of Scott's party on the 1911-12 expedition, Cherry Garrard was a witness and participant in the creation of a myth. He lived through events that have become lodged for all time in the consciousness of our country and our culture. His book is so important that, in turn, an account of his life is essential. Sara Wheeler's biography of Apsley Cherry Garrard is, I think, definitive.

Her grasp of polar exploration, past and present, is comprehensive. Her research began as preparation for her own time in Antarctica. She spent months traveling between the camps and research sites dotted about the continent, including a spell at the camp at the Pole. She returned to Antarctica the following year to spend weeks in a camp of her own [with another woman, a painter] as the Antarctic winter ended and the sun reappeared for another season.

Her first-hand appreciation of the conditions, the mentality, the motivations, the relationships, of Antarctic life lend an essential authenticity to her treatment of Cherry Garrard's account of his time with the 1911 expedition. It is clear that she has enormous affection for A. C.G. but this feeling for her subject does not in any way detract from the way she has presented this man's life. Her account of his life before and after the polar expedition is equally detailed and insightful.

The 1911 expedition and its outcome created a debate which continues to this day, including the nature of exploration, Scott as a man and as a leader, social and class issues then and now, colonialism, national consciousness, personal psychology under extreme conditions and much else.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Random Reader on 22 Sep 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book providing a much more reflective view on the 1911 Antarctic expedition of Scott than many others. It does this through tracing the life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard who, in his early twenties, was one of the youngest members of the team. I was somewhat sceptical that a book this length about one person could hold my attention, however it exceeded all expectation.

From a wealthy and privileged background, Cherry-Garrard found his adventure and purpose in the Antarctic, but in many ways never seemed throughout the rest of his life to have been able to find anything to match that early intensity of purpose and friendship. Not only that but it was his tragedy to be closest to rescuing Scott and his own two best friends (Bill Wilson and Birdie Bowers), and to be part of the group that eventually discovered their frozen corpses, having had to wait a whole winter to do so knowing that they had perished. Not surprisingly this loss marked the rest of his life. Wheeler writes that: "Through his story Cherry reached out to something universal: the eclipse of youth and the realm of abandoned dreams and narrowing choices that is the future."

However, the author does more than just bring the character of Cherry-Garrard so successfully alive, she also chronicles through that life an era long gone and challenges the reader how to find fulfilment when the intensity dies. As the subject himself wrote in his own best-selling account of the expedition, The Worst Journey in the World: "To me, and perhaps to you, the interest in this story is the men, and it is the spirit of the men, "the response of the spirit", which is interesting rather than what they did or failed to do: except in a superficial sense they never failed. That is how I see it and I knew them pretty well."
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L. J. ONeill on 19 April 2006
Format: Paperback
I came across this book in a local secondhand bookshop just recently and had bought it on spec, I was not even familiar with the characters involved just looking for something different.

The detail which Sara Wheeler prescribes is quite frightening, the hardship of the sleding journeys (manhauling) let alone extreme cold is almost beyond belief. This truely must be an insight into what the lure and appeal of what early exploration must have been like and why people were driven to push themselves to such breathtaking boundaries. I did not find the book an easy or engulfing read, (excluding the early antarctic section) but the overwhleming desire to see it through to it's final resolutions make it a worthwhile if not thought provoking read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Barbara on 6 Feb 2003
Format: Paperback
A gripping story of a very interesting life. Because of her own knowledge of the Antarctis, the author has managed to combine biography with adventure story. Through the gripping narrative, Apsley becomes a real person and his plight comes to life on every page. A book I read in small installments to be able to enjoy it for a long time.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Steve Pardoe on 11 Feb 2003
Format: Paperback
Sara Wheeler's book is an exceptional biography of an exceptional human being, and quite the best piece of serious writing I've come across in years. Cherry's epitaph for Oates as "a very gallant gentleman" could well have been his own.
Far from uncritical of her man, Wheeler balances a deep understanding of what led him to Antarctica, with a sympathetic and thoughtful analysis of his desperately self-destructive later years. Although much of the story springs from Cherry's remarkable relationships with his sledging partners, particularly Bowers and Wilson, I was glad that Wheeler did not fall into the trap of quoting wholesale from "The Worst Journey" (itself surely among the finest travel books ever written, though it was only through Wheeler that I learned of the contribution made by GBS). Sections of the biography are inevitably moving : the loss of the tent at Crozier, the discovery of Scott's party, Cherry's incomplete relationship with his young wife. His clinical depression seems well-handled, and it is impossible not to sympathise with his plight, even if, or perhaps because, it was to such a large extent self-inflicted.
Apsley Cherry-Garrard failed no-one but himself. Sara Wheeler has not let him down.
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