Top positive review
59 of 65 people found this helpful
This book needed to be written
on 4 March 2004
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.