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With Scott in the Antarctic [Paperback]

Isobel Williams
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
Price: 14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 July 2009
First full biography of the Antarctic hero who accompanied Scott on his expeditions

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (1 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752452460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752452463
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 485,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Minor editing of repetitive sections would enhance this otherwise brilliant biography of a remarkable explorer. Highly recommended." --"The Historical Novels Review"

About the Author

Isobel Williams is a Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine who has been interested in Edward Wilson since she first saw his drawings while studying at St George's Hospital, London. This biography is the result of her passion for a truly great hero.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With Scott in the Antarctic - Edward Wilson 20 April 2009
An elegantly written book by Isobel Williams that can be read on many levels. This portrait reveals a noble man whose faith gave him strength of purpose in the most extreme conditions: an inspiration to Scott and their fellow explorers. He took his responsibilities as a doctor seriously; his research was rigorous and the paintings and drawings, executed in dire conditions are exquisite. He kept a thorough and balanced diary even in the bleak times. What an exceptional man.

The diligent research by a fellow doctor provides great insight into contemporary medical knowledge, (such as lack of adequate nutrition and the cause of scurvy) exploration and the current aspirations and concerns of society. Learning about the paucity of information and equipment makes the expeditions more remarkable.

This is a story of heroic adventure. The pace of the narrative reflects the unfolding drama of exploration in the Antarctic: a compulsive read, informative and enjoyable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable Achievement 28 Jan 2009
Wilson's journeys to the Antarctic and the extraordinary artistic and scientific work he did there are remarkable achievements and have long begged a biographer able to capture the essence of the man behind them. Isobel William's portrait is itself a remarkable achievement and brings out the colours in Wilson's character, helping us to understand why Scott found no other companion more valuable, and how Wilson's relentless stoicism and good humour in the face of apalling suffering helped others to keep going. Williams reveals how Wilson's faith in God was at the core of his being, and gives us glimpses into the almost mystical form this took as conditions worsened. Wilson was exposed to conditions that are almost mind-boggling in their severity. Isobel Williams does not forget that she is dealing with high drama, and brings the story of these gruelling expeditions vividly to life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hard book to write 27 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In his introduction to 'With Scott in the Antarctic, Dr Mike Stroud, Ranulph Fiennes collaborator on his Transantarctic crossing, concludes ...'she has caught the man in context, conveying the time in which he lived and the environment in which he worked'. That, for me, sums up exactly this 2008 biography of Edward Wilson, the man who accompanied Robert Falcon Scott on both his Antarctic expeditions, and who famously died with him in 1912 on the second.

But Isobel Williams must have faced at least two major difficulties in writing the book. Firstly, Wilson's wife Oriana destroyed her correspondence with her husband before she died in 1945. So only secondary sources on that aspect of Wilson's personal life were and are available to any modern biographer. Secondly, the story of Scott's expeditions has been told many times before. How would it be possible to tell the story in a fresh way, with added value?

William's difficulties are very apparent in her book. She relies very heavily for personal material, on George Seaver, who wrote Wilson's original biography in the 1940s, and had access to the correspondence. I have read Seaver, and I am not sure that Williams has been able to add much more than he was able to write 75 years ago. Though to be fair to Williams, she has conducted painstaking research and has gone to many other sources. In addition, though she emphasises Wilson's role in Scott's two expeditions, I am not sure anything very much is added to what many others have said in their exhaustive analysis of Scott's expeditions.

However, what certainly comes across in the biography is her empathy and admiration for the person of Wilson.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MISSED OPPORTUNITY 3 Jan 2010
A Kid's Review
Scott's exporation of Antarctica and its tragic ending never fails to move me. They were all heroes but Edward Wilson (E.W.)shines out as exceptional; with 'Birdie' Bowers coming a close second. Such is my interest that I have read many books on Scott's expeditions, in particular those that focus on E.W. in an effort to get to know this exceptional man better. On receiving Isobel Williams book I read the 'Introduction' by Dr. Michael Stroud with excitement. He writes, "...but before I read this book, Wilson remained an enigma....He seemed a strange puzzle...I could not put these pieces together but Isobel Williams has let me do so." With Dr Stroud's pedigree I set off reading with interest expecting new knowledge and insight into E.W. I am sorry to say that in this context the book was a let down. If you have read Seavers work(s) on E.W. I believe it to be far more informative and interesting. At times I thought Isabel Williams was just writing another book on Scott's Antarctic exploration with the hook being E.W. I accept that on a couple of occasions new medical reasoning has been appied to unlock some of the myteries e.g. What was Edgar Evan's cause of death ?, but as regards E.W., well, to my mind, he deserved much much better. The book for me is sadly a missed opportunity on such a great and inspirational human being.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly interesting 23 Nov 2011
By Tones
An incredibly interesting version of Scott's Antartic exploration - a refreshing and fresh take on a known adventurer with the added twist of looking to Edward Wilson for further insight. A must read. Thoroughly covered detail and very well written.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars SCOTT IN THE ANTARCTIC
By far the BEST book I have read relating to Scott's Antarctic expedition. In fact I have nearly finished reading it for the 2nd time !! Read more
Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A true adventure
After receiving this book as a gift from my thoughtful husband, not one I would have chosen myself(!) I have to say how pleasantly surprised I was. Read more
Published on 2 Dec 2011 by Tanja & Anthony
4.0 out of 5 stars Edwards Wilson-Explorer, Naturalist, Artist
Of the many books written about Scott and his south polar expeditions, this one provides a unique, critical assessment of a man who was on both the Discovery Expedition (1901-04)... Read more
Published on 30 Jun 2011 by Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars With Scott in the Antarctic
Dr William's extensive research has produced a most authoritative book. Edward Wilson was clearly a determined yet compassionate individual able to think clearly and calmly in the... Read more
Published on 31 Jan 2011 by Roger, Edinburgh
5.0 out of 5 stars With Scott in the Antarctic: Edward Wilson: Explorer, Naturalist,...
Isobel Williams gives a fascinating, detailed description of the life of this strong character whose reliability and even temper was a huge strength to his companions. Read more
Published on 24 Feb 2010 by J. C. Angel
5.0 out of 5 stars With Scott in the Antarctic
This is a very well researched and detailed account of Edward Wilson's considerable contribution to Scott's Antarctic expeditions. Read more
Published on 27 Jan 2010 by Mrs. Janet M. Keeley
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read - five stars
Edward Wilson's story is one of almost unbelievable gallantry and endurance, so it was a pleasure to read an account that details the man behind legend. Read more
Published on 20 Jan 2010 by Max
5.0 out of 5 stars Stirring stuff
What an excellent book this is. Isobel Williams has taken on board more facts that the 'Terra Nova' and managed to weave them into a gripping narrative that would rival any novel. Read more
Published on 4 Jan 2010 by R. L. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars With Scott in the Antartic
This is a fascinating account of one of the most heroic series of journeys ever undertaken. But more than that, this biography gives an insight into the life of a man whose sense... Read more
Published on 1 Jan 2010 by C. S. Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars Scott's right hand man
With the centenary approaching of the 'Terra Nova' sailing from Cardiff, Dr Williams builds on the earlier work of George Seaver and David Wilson with her medical insight to... Read more
Published on 15 Dec 2009 by Gary C. Gregor
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