14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
South Side Of The Sky,
This review is from: Captain Scott (Hardcover)
I was given this book as a present owing to a passing interest in Polar history. Although Fiennes states, "I would want to write about anyone whose life and works have been as traduced as Scott's has been", clearly he is driven to write about Scott by his own experiences and accomplishments as a Polar explorer.
The main thrust of the book is to refute the revisionary and highly derogatory biography of Scott by Roland Huntford, published in 1979 and later the basis of a popular fictionalised television series. Huntford did much to create a contemporary belief that Scott was a selfish, amateurish, martinet, driven on by dreams of imperial glory. According to Fiennes' presentation of the facts, nothing could be further from the truth.
What Fiennes' reveals is a warm human being, much loved and reverred by his companions whose drive for exploration was balanced equally by his support and interest in scientific research.
Fiennes is a convincing and thorough biographer. His prose is easy and flowing, and once picked up it is very hard to put this book down. I found myself positively anxious on many days to get through my work and continue on with the story. Fiennes brings alive the Scott expeditions by using references to his own experiences in Antartica. He does this to great effect and without intruding or digressing from the narrative. This particular aspect of the book as unique amongst Scott biographers and convincingly supports Fiennes' meticulous documentary research.
This is a fascinating, absorbing account which entirely rehabilitates Scott to his position as an eminent explorer and true hero, for which Fiennes must deserve both praise and thanks.