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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
A remarkable book by a remarkable woman. I've heard Felicity lecture a couple of times and her talks are always enthralling. This is one of those occasions when the book is even better that the talks. What she undertook even to get the expidition together, choosing the participants, obtaining the sponsorship, is an incredible achievment in itself and well beyond the...
Published 21 months ago by Richard H

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid adventure book
Aston has a vision to take a small team of women from Commonwealth countries around the world on an Antarctic expedition, and after being promised support from The Winston Churchill Support Trust sets about selecting members.

She posts advert for candidates and goes to Ghana, India, Cyprus, Jamaica, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and New Zealand. Having...
Published 12 months ago by Half Man, Half Book


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid adventure book, 14 Dec 2013
Aston has a vision to take a small team of women from Commonwealth countries around the world on an Antarctic expedition, and after being promised support from The Winston Churchill Support Trust sets about selecting members.

She posts advert for candidates and goes to Ghana, India, Cyprus, Jamaica, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and New Zealand. Having whittled down around 800 applicants to 15 for a weeks training and selection in Norway. For some of the ladies this was a baptism by ice as they had never seen snow or experienced cold weather. She describes the emotion dilemma of selecting the final team, and telling those who would not be going.

With her team selected, she has the stress of trying to manage the team , the fundraising and the logistics of getting all to New Zealand for further training. She drops the New Zealand Candidate, after this as she feels that she wold be battling her throughout the expedition.

And so to the frozen continent. She finally makes it with her team, and they have several days acclimatising to the harsh environment. One member has t drop out, and following approval from the authorities they set off. The journey to the pole is mostly straightforward, there is the odd mishap, and flared temper, but these women are here for a purpose, and there are determined to make it.

It is a heartwarming book, Antarctica is harsh unforgiving environment, that the smallest of errors can be fatal, or cause serious injury. These women from diverse backgrounds became the first from some nations ever to get to the South Pole, and the first to ski there as well. Aston says at the end, if anyone says that you can't do something, remember this moment and know that you can.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, 27 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Call of the White: Taking the World to the South Pole (Kindle Edition)
A remarkable book by a remarkable woman. I've heard Felicity lecture a couple of times and her talks are always enthralling. This is one of those occasions when the book is even better that the talks. What she undertook even to get the expidition together, choosing the participants, obtaining the sponsorship, is an incredible achievment in itself and well beyond the abilitiy and determination of most people. To then successfully lead the expedition of novices across Antarctica is a testimony to her personal skills, her ability, detiermination, motivation and pastoral care. It's a gripping read throughout.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Call of White, 20 April 2013
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This review is from: Call of the White: Taking the World to the South Pole (Kindle Edition)
Not a bit interested in snow and ice, but I heard the author speaking and she is so animated, smiley and easy to listen to. I had to get the book and was NOT NOT NOT disappointed
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4.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected, 2 Feb 2013
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Mark Hill (Aljezur, Faro, Portugal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Call of the White: Taking the World to the South Pole (Kindle Edition)
In many of these adventure explorer books, the first one-third can be interesting. Planning the expedition, getting a team together, fighting for sponsorship - this stuff is usually interesting. Then the expedition sets off and it's just page after page of 'oh my god, we could have been killed!'. But by focusing on the individual women on the team and how the environment affects each personality differently, Aston keeps up the pace and holds your interest to the last page. This is a good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and empowering story, 29 Aug 2012
Call of the White: Taking the World to the South Pole, is Felicity Aston's account of her project to create a team of women from eight different Commonwealth countries, with no polar experience, and get them all to ski to the South Pole.

This included taking women from places like Jamaica, Brunei and Ghana - not countries typically associated with cold weather exploits - to Antarctica after only two short training expeditions in Norway and New Zealand. The culminating expedition was only the final step along a bumpy road which included trying to gather applications from far flung countries by giving interviews on local radio stations, obtaining visas and blessings from high commissions and embassies, and generally trying to coordinate a huge project across seven time zones using email and Skype.

I was particularly keen to read this book, firstly because I knew some of the participants - apart from Felicity, who I'd met a few times through BSES, Helen Turton, who represented the UK, is a friend of mine, and various other familiar names crop up throughout the book, Guy Risdon doing the first aid, and Steve Jones sorting their Antarctic Logistics. I was also drafted in to work as the UK Support for their expedition so had an added interest in hearing how it all went.

One of the things that struck me was just how they went through on the ice that never made it back to me. I was the one that took their phone calls and uploaded their blogs and podcasts to the website every day but most of the stories were still news to me. A testament to the professionalism and collective brave face of the team.

In fact, Aston's professional approach and leadership shine through throughout the book. She meets her fair share of doubters along the way - no doubt sceptical about a "bunch of girls with no experience" trying to play with the big boys down in Antarctica - but she rises above them all with confidence (unlike the others, Aston has a wealth of expedition and polar experience).

Aston's journalistic skill is evident in a well put-together book that flows easily and doesn't suffer from any of the common pitfalls of expedition story telling. It must have been a difficult task to give a fair and accurate account of all that went on amongst the team but, as is evident from the thought processes laid out on paper, Aston is a thoughtful character who carries a responsibilities seriously.

What is refreshing about this story is that although Aston does of course end up skiing across Antarctica, you get the real feeling that this was never a project about her. It was not a just a handy marketing ploy to get another idea funded. You get the clear sense that she was trying to do something different and to make a statement, not just to her seven team mates but to women throughout the Commonwealth and people across the world. A wonderful and empowering story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring story of the expedition process, 18 May 2012
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I read this on the recommendation of a friend, and loved it. I have read loads of books about adventurous expeditions, but not often about such a diverse and potentially challenging team. A someone who has led expeditions on a much smaller and less hard core scale, I really enjoyed the description of the whole process, from putting the team together, raising the funds, completing the training, all the way through the actual polar journey to the successful finish. Many people see an expedition as just the bit where you take the awesome pictures, but often some of the defining moments are in the long long lead up, and I thought this was really put across throughout this expedition story. I started reading it on a weekend away on DofE expeditions with students from my school, and was digging it out of my tent to quote bits all weekend to them, even from the first few chapters...hopefully some of them will be inspired to read it too!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written, funny, unputdownable!, 18 April 2012
I've read a few travel books that never really lift off the page, but this one is different. I was hooked after the first page, and I read it straight through in two days. Astons writing is so good I even devoured the long list of final thanks at the end. I couldn't let the epic finish.

There are lots of moments where I laughed out loud with the girls, and moments that had me in tears (although it pains me to admit it).

The massive challenge of putting together a trip like this (let alone completing the bloody thing) is a fascinating insight into expeditions of this size, and an inspiration to anyone, whether you want to do something like this yourself, or just apply it to your own personal challenges.

It is such a great adventure and accomplishment, and Aston has created a beautifully crafted record of it in this book.

I love it! I want another one! Felicity Aston is supercool.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational!, 18 April 2012
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This review is from: Call of the White: Taking the World to the South Pole (Kindle Edition)
I thoroughly enjoyed Call of the White, and gained a great respect for Felicity Aston! What an amazing task she took on to take such a diverse group on such a trip... Definately worth reading!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Low on beards and testosterone, 17 April 2012
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Given that most polar exploration books are about beards and testosterone, this was a refreshing change.
It has all the usual good stuff that people enjoy in polar books (pulling big sledges, getting cold, being hard as nails) but it is the relationships between the women on the expedition that really stands out.
An excellent read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read - had trouble putting it down., 14 April 2012
I really enjoyed this book although I wasn't sure if I would. It was written very well, so you really felt you got to know the different girls in the team, and also appreciated how difficult a task their challenge was. Once started, I was totally hooked and wanted to read on and on. Really looking forward to reading Felicity's next book about her solo expedition.
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