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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heroes in the True Sense.
In an age of cynicism and the popular sport of debunking of old heroes, this book makes a refreshing read. It was written in a more innocent age and this is certainly a strenth of the book together with the honest integrity of the author Cherry Apsley-Gerrard. Here is a man well qualified to write of Scott's last expedition as he was there. Not only well qualified but a...
Published on 5 Aug. 2010 by Bob Salter

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Terrible edition of brilliant book
A lazy edition of a brilliant book makes this a frustrating read:
1 No photos or diagrams. Some of the photos and drawings made at the Pole are tremendous but there isn't even one of the author.
2 Scant or non-existent explanation of dozens of technical and geographic terms or of who people were or their significance.
3 Maps - these were confusing (eg in...
Published on 31 Dec. 2012 by L. Gordo


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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heroes in the True Sense., 5 Aug. 2010
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Worst Journey In The World (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
In an age of cynicism and the popular sport of debunking of old heroes, this book makes a refreshing read. It was written in a more innocent age and this is certainly a strenth of the book together with the honest integrity of the author Cherry Apsley-Gerrard. Here is a man well qualified to write of Scott's last expedition as he was there. Not only well qualified but a fine writer in his own right as anyone reading the book will find. His final lines are some of the finest prose to be found anywhere.

Through the authors eyes we get to know the persons involved in a more intimate way. Scott, highly strung and full of nervous energy but a true leader of men. The author does not shirk in describing him. Wilson, the gentle man of science who is popular with everyone. The indefatigable Bowers willing to take on any task with a cheerful face. The taciturn Oates, who people only seem to remember for his heroic gesture, turns out to be a gifted orator illuminating many a long polar night with his unsuspected gift.

In this age we should be inspired by their bravery for the advances of science,their comradeship and their ability to take on impossible tasks without complaint. We should admire the resolute way they refused to leave any man behind, unlike some modern day mountaineers who choose to ignore the dying, ensnared in that temporary insanity known as summit fever. These men lived like true English gentlemen and died like true English gentlemen. The grain ran deep. In an age when many an unworthy is held up as a hero, here we have examples to all of what this word truly means. Probably the best travel book ever written.

"If you march your Winter journeys you will have your reward, so long as all you want is a penguin's egg". Apsley Cherry-Garrard.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best travel book ever?, 28 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: The Worst Journey In The World (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
This is a n amazing book that I would recommend anyone to read.

Apsley Cherry-Garrard ("Cherry") was one of the Antarctic Heros in the heroic age. Most people know about Scott, Oates, Evans, Wilson and Bowers who died returning from the pole but Cherry was one of those who formed the support group and who in the end found the bodies. But that is not "the worst journey"; that title is reserved for the journey Cherry and two others made in the depths of the Antarctic winter to get some Emperor Penguin eggs in conditions that can be barely imagined.

This is the only book written by Cherry; he was encouraged to write it by his close neighbour George Bernard Shaw and completed it only after participating in the first world war. Apart from Cherry's writing which is amazing there is also an excellent biographical section.

Thoroughly recommended.

If you enjoy this then I also recommend a book on another unsung hero, Tom Crean.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, in every sense of the word, 22 Jun. 2012
By 
Lisa Stanton "l stanton" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Worst Journey In The World (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
He wasn't lying with that title, but what's missed out is that it's perhaps the most incredible journey too, as well as one of the most incredible books I've ever read (if I could give this 10 stars it wouldn't be enough).

Concerning Scott's last expedition to the Antarctic of which I previously knew woefully little (even though he's a hometown boy), I no longer have to lament that fact thanks to this most comprehensive and compelling account by Apsley Cherry-Garrard who, at 24, was a member of the expedition (though not of the last dash to the pole) and made it back to tell the tale. Painstakingly compiled from not only Garrard's diaries and remembrances but also through those of the other men, from letters home and the many, meticulous records of the journey (it chiefly having a scientific object), Garrard fully presses home the ideal that these men strove to uphold even in the face of certain death - to shine a little light on the darkest, most inhospitable corners of the world and bring forth a little more knowledge, laying a foundation for those who came after to build upon.

Garrard does a truly fantastic job of immersing you in his material, not only giving you all of the detail surrounding the expedition down to temperatures, wind directions, logistics, etc but also painting a vivid picture of their lives there. Alongside the hardships there are moments of wonder and joy; in the beauty of their surroundings, of their discoveries and studies and in the way Garrard writes of the personalities of the animals and men (I adored the indomitable Bowers as, clearly, did Garrard). Sitting alongside is unhistrionic documentation of the most unimaginably inhospitable environments and acts of incredible endurance, bravery and generosity that I don't think I'll be ever able to forget (Crean's solitary journey of 35 miles, on foot and with no equipment, to raise help for a dying man, completely awes me). Waking afloat on a patch of floating sea ice, teeth splitting due to the cold, frostbite, hourly drops into crevasses and the terrible blindness of blizzards are just some of the other horrors within. I can't even begin to imagine what a temperature of -75 feels like, but if I ever whinge at a festival that my clothes are damp again, you have my permission to slap me.

We all know now became of Scott's last Polar Journey and it's very easy to look at it with the benefit of hindsight and point out mistakes. I spent quite a lot of time cursing the horrific distances between depots and Garrard, in his stated aim of passing on knowledge to future explorers, is forthcoming about the many shortcomings and miscalculations as well as the plain rotten luck experienced by the party. Having read this now, and feeling like I've come through the journey with them, I find it hard to condemn any of the actions within and am instead struck with a feeling of awe at what was accomplished and endured, and what a debt we owe to all of the people who have gone out and discovered all of the wonderful things we know about the world.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Terrible edition of brilliant book, 31 Dec. 2012
This review is from: The Worst Journey In The World (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
A lazy edition of a brilliant book makes this a frustrating read:
1 No photos or diagrams. Some of the photos and drawings made at the Pole are tremendous but there isn't even one of the author.
2 Scant or non-existent explanation of dozens of technical and geographic terms or of who people were or their significance.
3 Maps - these were confusing (eg in one, the South Pole is to the top of the page, but in another it is to the bottom! This makes comparison difficult to say the least) or did not contain several places that were referred to in the text.
4 No explanation of who Sara Wheeler is, or who George Seaver was - they wrote the introductions and are clearly significant but we are not told who they are. And, not to denigrate their essays, but the 40 or so pages they took up could have been better used.

Buy the book but a different edition.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book on Frostbite in the World, 4 Jun. 2010
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This review is from: The Worst Journey In The World (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
Like depoted XS rations on the Ross Ice Shelf, Cherry-Garrard's writing is as fresh and nourishing as the day it went between covers eighty-eight years ago. "The Worst Journey" contains so many good things, not the least of which are the entwined stories of Cherry-Garrard's own mid-winter's march to collect egg samples from brooding Emperor Penguins and Scott's disastrous trip to (and most of the way back from) the South Pole. In between are long stretches of brilliant nature writing, kind but frank character study, technical analysis of sledging materials and conditions at a range of temperatures between -70 & 0 Celsius, etc., etc. (Tellingly, Cherry-Garrard survived three brutal years on McMurdo Sound, only to be invalided home from WWI in a matter of months. Likely the experiences of the first had weakened him for the second, but it says a great deal that the worst the Antarctic could throw at him was as nothing compared to the trenches of France.)

Despite my best intentions, I'll probably continue to grumble about cold winters in an Edinburgh flat, or the rigours of an eight-hour day spent tracking birds on Scottish moors. After having read this book, however, I'll blush every time I catch myself doing so.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Derring Do, History in the making, and an awful lot more, 28 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: The Worst Journey In The World (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
Apsley Cherry Garrard was one of the youngest men on Scott's final, fatal expedition to the Antarctic and wound up responsible for writing the official account of the journey, out of which this book gestated.

The title is a bit misleading - the worst journey he is referring to is actually the Winter Journey to collect Emperor Penguin eggs which the author and two other men went on whilst preparations for the journey to the Pole were still at an early stage. There's a full account included here, but the book also covers the whole of the expedition, from organisation and journey out to Antarctica to Scott's final moments (reconstructed from diaries found in the tent by Cherry Garrard and others when they tracked down the bodies of Scott's party months after their deaths). Whilst there are many other books on the expedition, this has the benefit of Cherry Garrard having been there, known the men involved well, and having had fantastic access to documents such as the diaries of the other men. He also doesn't shirk from occasional criticism of Scott and others and strives to be impartial, although he ultimately comes out firmly on the side of seeing Scott as a great leader.

Cherry Garrard is a good guide and a surprisingly talented writer for someone who never published another book. He writes in clear, lucid style, but avoids being overly dry and exhaustive. There are wonderful descriptive passages and he treats the mental state of the men as being of vital importance to an understanding of the story. He breaks the whole account down into periods and journeys, which makes it easy for the casual reader to dip in and out. To get the full benefit, and enjoyment, though it's advisable to read through from the start. I picked up many things I'd never known from this account. The Winter Journey in particular is an amazing and neglected story of endurance and survival against the odds. You can sense Cherry Garrard's own bitterness when he tells of the dismissive reception the Natural History Museum gave when he finally delivered to them the Emperor Penguin eggs the men had recovered only through incredible hardship and risk.

Any criticisms? The casual reader might find some of the details of days and days where nothing much happens, dutifully recorded nonetheless, a little taxing. Also, it's inevitable that Cherry Garrard lacks some of the objectivity and information available to later writers. If you want an authoritative book on why Scott's party failed to beat Amundsen's, why the men couldn't make it back, etc., read a modern account. I don't feel that these issues take much away from the book, though, and it's got so muh to offer event hose who've already digested later accounts.

I must confess to being a bit of an exploration buff, especially as regards the Antarctic, and I found this book was enjoyable, inspiring, informative, and gave me a real sense of what it was like to be on Scott's Expedition. There are many good books on similar subjects, but there remain some things you can only really get from the people who were there. We should be grateful one of them left such a great book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It makes you feel cold and exhausted just reading it, 14 Feb. 2012
By 
This review is from: The Worst Journey In The World (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
It's called The Worst Journey In The World, and I for one would not disagree with him. The book covers the whole history of Scott's last expedition to the antarctic including part that is often omitted, what happened after Scott and his party were found.

It contains a wealth of detail and description of the environment and abundant wild life,some of it suprising, in what most people think of as a frozen sterile environment. It also shows that the expedition was mainly a scientific one and for most people, including Scott, that was the real focus of their endevour. For this alone the book is worth it.

The actual journey in question is the winter journey in perpetual darkness to collect penguin eggs. A journey that Cherry - Garrard and his companions were fortunate to survive, at one point loseing their tent in temperatures of -60C. It also covers the attempt on the pole. He gives a well thoughtout analysis of why Scott and his companions died.

What comes across most forcefully, despite Cherry-Garrard's self depreciatory style, is the sheer awfullness and danger of travelling over the ice and snow in what must be the most hostile place on earth.

This is one of the most absorbing books on polar exploration I have read and the accounts of the two journeys, egg collecting and the polar party and its support teams are gripping. It describes the extraordinary hardships all the men had to surmount, to go out on journeys from which only a slight miscalculation in logistics or navigation or an unexpected bad turn in the fickle and unpredictable weather will mean you will not return. I really can't recommend this book highly enough. As far as I know it has never been out of print and if you read it you will know why.

The only dissapointment is the lack of photographs. To help get the best from this book I recommend looking on the internet for Herbert Ponting's photographs and Wilson's Antarctic paintings.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The worst journey makes the best read, 21 May 2011
This review is from: The Worst Journey In The World (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
I bought this as a gift after having been nagged into reading it myself by people who kept going on about how good it is. I am now nagging others to read it. It is very long, and in places a little confusing as it is not necessarily in chronological order, but this is more than made up for by the wonderfully understated style used to tell an almost unbelievable story.

I know people who have read it several times, and I will probably be one of them, and I hope I encourage someone else to join the Cherry-Garrard fan club.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, 13 Jun. 2012
This review is from: The Worst Journey In The World (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
They say that everyone has one book to write. Well - this is Apsley Cherry-Garrard's one book, and if we all had one such a book within us, what treasures would be stored in the libraries of the land! I live for such books. Please be tempted to read it.

Arguably, Apsley was the most ill-qualified to accompany Scott on the Terra Nova Antarctic expedition. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but yearning for adventure, he inveigled himself into the Terra nova party. Yet immediately he joined the ship and later landed on the ice, he proved to be a reliable stalwart in everything he did. Despite crippling short-sightedness, he more than managed to support Scott on his journey to the Pole; he accompanied Wilson and Bowers to Cape Crozier to collect emperor penguin eggs through the Arctic winter (the Worst Journey in the World); he led an almost successful attempt to find Scott in March 1912 as Scott and his companions lay marooned in their final resting place (a 'failure' which haunted him for the rest of his life) and he completed more sledging miles in his 3 years in the Antarctic than any other person on the expedition, etc. etc. etc.

Not only that, but in the early 1920s, having survived the 1st World War, and encouraged by his friend and mentor, George Bernard Shaw, he wrote this magnificent book - a gem amongst travel literature with exquisite descriptions of landscape and natural features and perceptive analyses of the merits of Scott's last expedition. Apsley was clearly devoted to Scott, and even more so to his companion Wilson, yet, in an age of deference, he was able to suggest deficiencies as well as strengths in the members of the expedition and in Scott himself. And the last paragraph of the book (read it for yourself) is worth all 597 of its preceding pages.

Intrigued about the man who could write such a book, I have also read his biography 'Cherry' by Sarah Wheeler (separately reviewed). That too gives an insight into the character of the man. If, like me, you loved Apsley's book, you must read 'Cherry' as well. Apsley died in 1959, aged 73. I was 15 then. I wish I could have met him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Travel Classic, 31 Dec. 2013
This review is from: The Worst Journey In The World (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
No true traveller and historian would baulk at reading this brilliant book of the epic Scott led assault on the South Pole.
'We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint'. These words from Scott himself, surely one of the greatest understatements, characterises the thoughtful juxtaposition of quotes from original sources, often the diaries of the players in the adventure, prose and commentary and the author's diary. A memorable contemporaneous story with a fine introduction and analytical postscript. Perhaps a little too much description of the various ice formations that the expedition observed, but hardly surprising and perhaps all the more interesting for the geographers and naturalists.
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The Worst Journey In The World (Vintage Classics)
The Worst Journey In The World (Vintage Classics) by Apsley Cherry-Garrard (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
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