There are many books on the race to the South Pole. Thomson's book is one of the good ones. It is not a super quick read, but very manageable when compared to Roland Huntford's massive work "Scott and Amundsen." Although the title of Thomson's book includes the names of all three of the chief South Pole competing explorers, he covers Scott and his crew much more extensively than the other two (the original 1977 release of the book was entitled "Scott's Men," so Scott was the main focus of his study at one time).
Thomson admits that Scott was a childhood hero of his (pg. x). His coverage of Scott's background is at times deeply analytical, jumps around a bit and is rather flowery, even ending with a lengthy poem Scott penciled in his address book (pg. 24). His examination of Scott's marriage to a woman of means seemed overly analytical as well: "So long a history of family making-do had numbed Scott permanently, and the rift of self-doubt in his character has every debilitating trace of fallen gentry. Is there another lure in the south here? That it was a world free from the cost of living?" (huh?) (pg. 88).
Thomson's research had him abating Scott's heroic image by finding flaws in his judgment and character (i.e. not being open to the advice of others or learning from the past experiences of fellow explorers). Still, Thomson's book, although a little controversial in England when it was first published, doesn't go quite as far as Huntford's sometimes vicious account.
Due to the title of the book and the more thorough examination of Scott, it comes to reason that a reader may see the other two main players in ways they compare (usually favorably) to Scott. That is what this reader took from this book, anyway. Amundsen was the racer, Scott was the journeyer (pg. 111); Amundsen's aim was to be the first to reach the Pole, Scott's publicized goal--although privately it was probably the same as Amundsen's--was scientific research and not competition. Amundsen immersed himself in Arctic culture and was keen to learn survival techniques from the natives when he successfully ventured to find the Northwest passage. Scott often did not heed the advice or the example of others whether it be the eating of seal and penguin meat or the use of dogs (the squeamishness of working dogs was also due to British culture abhorring the practice--pg. 61).
Shackleton and Amundsen regarded their crew on equal standing while Scott continued the cast system. Shackleton was more drawn to the South than Scott (pg. 95). The former returned to the Pole even after it was discovered, Thomson questions whether Scott would have done the same (pg. 102). In 1908, when Shackleton penetrated the South further than anyone, he turned back to save his men. Scott "pressed on because it was the plan" (pg. 110).
One interesting point that keeps surfacing in the book is that, despite all his research on the subject, Thomson finds the whole race to the South Pole (as well as to the moon and other such endeavors) as "marginal," "pointless" (pp. 2-3), "a futile and fatal pursuit" (pg. 170), "purposelessness" and "senseless" (pp. 281-2). Certainly, the efforts of Scott's men to collect emperor penguin eggs at Cape Crozier was an example of "the measurable achievement [being] less than the momentous endurance," of course the team did not know the meager results of their efforts at the time (pp. 215-21). However meaningless the race to the Pole was in the scheme of life, it still makes for an intriguing story that is the subject of many nice books, including this one. For a contemporary account of Scott's failed pursuit to be the first the reach the South Pole that includes a new line of research, I highly recommend "The Coldest March" by Susan Solomon.