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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
One of the world's greatest living adventure explorers is Ranulph Fiennes (1944 - ). He may be best known for his polar expeditions, but he has undertaken a variety of physical challenges including ascents of the Eiger North Face and Mount Everest plus river, sea and desert events. He is a prolific writer and has written over 20 books recording his exploits and commenting on associated events. `Cold', subtitled `Extreme Adventures at the Lowest Temperatures on Earth', was first published in 2013 after he was forced out of an attempted Antarctica crossing due to frostbite.

`Cold' concentrates on expeditions and record breaking ventures where cold weather was a determining factor in success or otherwise. Ranulph Fiennes commences with trips to Norway and Greenland, but always with a view to uncharted destinations. A significant portion of his book is the planning, trials and execution of a Transglobe Expedition taking in both North and South poles, but also for separate journeys and crossings of the Arctic and Antarctic involving Canada, Alaska and the Northwest Passage, and even a trip around the world's greatest land mass from Ireland all the way East to Newfoundland. Ranulph Fiennes clearly has a competitive obsession and he has used his adventures to raise millions for charities, but readers will ponder over what were his doubts and fears, and what drove him to put himself in such deep danger and to suffer horrific hardships. What is to be made of his brief mention of 7 marathons on each of the world's 7 continents in 7 days - after heart surgery! There are insights to feelings of apprehension, reactions to isolation, responsibilities etc. where humour often makes light of the mental stress and physical back-breaking demands and punishments endured.

When describing his own approaches to experiences with companions, or solo, or supported, or unsupported etc. Ranulph Fiennes introduces a range of issues. `Cold' incorporates an `Appendix' outlining the history of polar exploration, but throughout the text Ranulph Fiennes comments on the achievements and failures of others, with often gory details of injuries and effects of illnesses due to extreme cold on the human body. He also comments on political intrigue over sovereignty of polar places, competition between explorers, scientific and medical research etc. `Cold' is a compelling and gripping tale, with a couple of sections of telling photographs - but it does lack maps. There is a reasonable representation of the Northwest Passage on the rear endcover, but at the front the two charts of Antarctic and Arctic are too small. Within the narrative there is a crying need for maps or diagrams of various expeditions - both of historical journeys by others and Ranulph Fiennes' own adventures. Apart from this criticism `Cold' is a remarkable and inspirational story celebrating a fulfilled life - in the face of horrific hardships.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2014
Bought recently as i was looking for an inspirational read and this is certainly ot. I would also recommend googling the places mentioned to get more of an idea of the vastness and difficulty of the terrain Ran find himself in. Great book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2014
I am currently reading this book and it is fascinating. It gives an excellent picture of life in a number of ice and snow conditions.. It makes one wonder why on earth he and his wife did it.
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on 30 May 2014
Having been evacuated from Antarctica, suffering from frostbite in his hand caused when trying to adjust the bindings on his skis, clearly left Ranulph Fiennes at a loose end. With nothing planned, what better than to turn out another book. Yes, this probably is a gratuitous opportunity to write about himself and his past expeditions. Who cares - Ran has had more feats of endurance than anyone else and even at his advancing years shows no signs of letting up. The theme is 'cold' and this aligns well with the majority of his expeditions. This book reads really well and is packed full of fascinating information. Ran clearly knows his field and this includes related history, biology and science. I thoroughly recommend this book.
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on 6 November 2014
An engaging read, having not read other books by Fiennes I was inspired by a recent talk he gave at The Natural History Museum, I thoroughly enjoyed it the book.

I normally enjoy modern mountaineering adventures, this book touches neatly historical journeys in a way that surprisingly caught my interest, having always ignored history books.

The odd mistake in hardcover (p 100 gets oC & oF mixed up? Doubt my body would thrive with a core temp of 99oC!).
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on 11 May 2015
One death defying expedition after another, just when you start feeling relieved that he lived to tell the tale of one, he is then off planning another. A thoroughly inspirational and palm sweating book of one mans obsession for taking life to the most extreme places on earth.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 February 2014
This is an interesting book covering Ranulph Fiennes remarkable exploits in the Arctic, Antarctic, in climbing Everest and the North Face of the Eiger. His achievements as an explorer are amazing, especially given that he was not a young man when he reached the summit of Everest at his third attempt, and that he climbed the North Face partly in the attempt to rid himself of his vertigo.

The stories of his personal experiences of extreme cold, particularly during his polar journeys, are interspersed with accounts the triumps and tribulations of other explorers including Scott, Amundsen and Shackleton, amongst many others. All this makes for great reading - however if you have read the author's autobiography you will already know many of the tales he has to tell and this book adds little that is new to that rather more engaging and personal book
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on 8 April 2015
My hero! Simply a man that never puts things on hold or allows obstacles get in his way.. an amazing informative read with cliff hanger sections that get you thinking how we would cope in these dangerous heart stopping scenarios..
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on 9 February 2014
This is a wonderful book and was greatly appreciated by the recipient. It is now making it's way around the family. This book will make you laugh, gasp in awe and horror and in some cases cry. Highly entertaining and hugely rated.
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on 7 April 2015
A fabulous read. Mind I couldn't face a swim in the sea during our Fowey hols before Easter.
Ranulph really does take you into the experience; well as much as can be expected from an armchair by a wood burner. :-)
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