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The Longest Winter: Scott's Other Heroes Paperback – 9 Jun 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; Proof Copy edition (9 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719595908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719595905
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A cracking story (Mail on Sunday)

This book relives their fears and squalid surroundings from day to day. Even as you lie in the sun on holiday, you will be chilled, gripped and amazed by the human resilience displayed in such awesome conditions (Daily Mail)

Authoritative and insightful . . . [an] enjoyable, vivid study of the English in extremis (Sunday Times)

Book Description

The untold story of Scott's Northern Party and their incredible survival of an Antarctic winter

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This month witnesses the 100th anniversary of "Scott's Last Expedition" setting forth from the UK and, between now and the centenary of Scott's death in March 1912, there will no doubt be a plethora of new books seeking to capitalise on the interest in the subject generated by the media. Some early 'runners' have already appeared in recent months and highlighted the concern that not all will necessarily exhibit the standard of scholarship that many consumers of 'heroic age' literature demand.

There are no such fears here. Hooper has produced a beautifully written and eminently readable account of the adventures of the 'eastern'/'northern' party that should satisfy the most critical (not least me!). Hooper brings the central characters very much to life and, notably, also treats us to illuminating insights into the progress of the 'Terra Nova' as it crisscrossed the Ross Sea and McMurdo Sound depositing and collecting personnel over two Antarctic summers. As a result, Harry Pennell also emerges from these pages as a character of some note for perhaps the first time in modern literature.

There is a careful and balanced approach in cross referencing to other contemporaneous activities in Antarctica and to the concurrent preparations of other expeditions, including those of both Mawson and the Japanese, in addition to selected and commenably brief references to the 'main events' associated with Scott and Amundsen, without labouring on details that are already well known and widely available in other accounts. Likewise, there is appropriate level of reflection upon Borchgrevink's earlier residence at Cape Adare.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Katherine Lambert's 'Hell with a Capital H' introduced me to the account of the Northern (Eastern) Party and the months they endured in the ice cave on Inexpressible Island. It saddens me that this tale has been largely forgotten, overshadowed by those who went with Scott to the Pole, and I would recommend this book to anyone who is keen to read an account of hardship, sheer guts and heroism.

Meredith Hooper's book, in my option, is a more 'warts and all' tale than Lambert's and paints the very real)picture of six men - two RN officers, a scientist and three sailors - who were thrown together in the harshest way, didn't always see eye to eye but when the chips were down, worked together to survive in the most difficult of conditions and lived to tell the tale. In saying this, I don't want to take anything away from Lambert's book which I have read at least twice and was initially responsible for firing my interest in Campbell's party.

One reason why I might have enjoyed this account more is that I have recently been to Cape Adare, Cape Evans and Inexpressible Island and on the latter, stood on the spot where the ice cave was dug. I can say that the smell at Cape Adare as described by the Northern Party is still as rank 100 years later and that Inexpressible itself is perhaps the bleakest and most God forsaken spot on this planet. I was lucky enough to travel with Raymond Priestley's grandson who gave a talk about his grandfather - a privilege indeed!

I'm sure we were all impressed by the 'Chilean miners' but this tale of endurance ranks way above what they had to go through. Well done to Meredith Hooper for keeping it alive and for producing a very readable account.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an amazing book, so well written. Life was so tough back then and because you know the details came from the men themselves you can feel the truth about the terrible situations they were in at times. Meredith Hooper also manages to show the true nature of the men, the humour, the resilience and also the pettiness that comes from living in such close quarters and dealing with such difficult circumstances. This book isn't only for those interested in tales of the Antarctic, but those who are interested in human nature, history, environment and who just want a good read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading Scott's journal I wanted to find out about the rest of his expedition. I hoped this book would fill in a good deal. After looking at so many reviews for so many other titles surrounding Scott's last expedition I could see that the running of the expedition was a contentious issue. What I liked about this was it was very easy to read, clearly very thoroughly researched, and above all a balanced view. Although the author says she wants to champion the thoughts and deeds of the lesser known members, she does not have an axe to grind. Excellent. By the by in the early 1980's I lived in Cambridge and occasionally did a bit of drinking with some members of the Antarctic survey and Scott Polar institutes. Lets say they are a breed apart, different from you and I - mostly in a nice way, but certainly in a somewhat strange way. I guess you have to be different to want to spend 6 months in darkness and the perishing cold, and isolated, in danger.....
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Format: Paperback
This is another one of the stories that normally features only as a sideline in accounts of Scott's last expedition. It was always intended that this would be a separate party, exploring the east side of the Ross Ice Shelf, but they had to withdraw from there when they found Amundsen occupying the area. So from being the Eastern Party, they became what was subsequently referred to as the Northern Party. They spent a first winter at Cape Adare in a well-established hut, then after some exploration in that area, they were taken by the Terra Nova further to the south to explore on the Antarctic Plateau. When the Terra Nova was unable to recover them, they spent a heroic winter of survival in a snow-cave, living largely off seal and penguin and using blubber for fuel. The account of this winter is really the core of this book.

The group was a microcosm of the main expedition - three naval officers or scientists and three other ranks. All the characters are well-described but particularlt Lt. Victor Campbell, the group's leader and a man who clearly had considerable ambitions to carve out a name for himself in Antarctic exploration.

The writer manages to capture the personalities and doesn't hold back on describing some of their less favourable aspects. It comes across as a fair account though with an overall sympathetic tone. The details of the Northern Party are interespersed throughout with snippets from both the main party and of the Terra Nova, helping to place their activities into an overall context with which many readers will already be familiar. The only thing that I felt was missing from the book was a brief account of what happened to the members of the party afterwards - something which features in many other accounts of the Heroic Age of Antarctica.
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