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Scott and Amundsen Hardcover – 1 Dec 1981

3.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Dec 1981
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--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Putnam Pub Group (T) (Dec. 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399119604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399119606
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.7 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,616,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Fascinating, and a well-chosen narrator. (The Oldie) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Book Description

NEW JACKET REISSUE with new interview material; and the ultimate story of the explorers and their race to the South Pole --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Amundsen good, Scott bad, with no grey inbetween. Amundsen has no money, leaves his crew abandoned in S. America, just one of those things. Everything that befalls Scott is due to bad planning. A splendid piece of character assassination. A travesty.
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Format: Audio CD
I don't know if Huntford's family were wronged by the Scotts in years gone by but you could be forgiven for thinking that after this. The bias towards the Norwegians has pretty much pushed me the opposite way. Here's my rant !
Scott's concept of "A victory more nobley and splendidly won" through man-hauling to the pole was in the whole spirit of their time and ours. Robert Peary had already discovered the North Pole and there was a reasonalbe expectation that there wasnt going to be a crock of gold or superman's ice palace at the South Pole so getting there was partly a scientific venture but mainly just for glory.
Scott did it without killing animals who hadn't signed up to die. He did it whilst achieving one of the most impressive physical feats in history. He did it with boxes full of scientific gear and samples and with no concept of a race initially in mind and he never abandoned his men or his principles It's also worth noting that he was following Shackletons footsteps and methods but with more pulling power and food to go the extra 100 miles. Common sense. Basically he achieved glory but died.
Amundsen wasn't so concerned with science, showed up with only winning fame in mind, gambled his mens lives on unknown territory purely to ensure that he was first, ditched his crew on the way home, ran almost all of his dogs to death on purpose and ate them which is ironic as technically his dogs, ahead of his sleds were the first beings to arrive at the Pole.
That will always win races but not necesarily hearts. From the respectful quotations after the Scott team was discovered, I think Amundsen realised that. Shame Huntsford didn't.
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Format: Audio CD
The facts everyone knows are that Scott got thrashed on his mission to the South Pole first and died on the return, and even Peter Mandelson would find it difficult to spin this as a success.

This book attempts to explain why this occurred, and sets out a dispassionate and non-jingoistic thesis that Scott failed because he did not learn lessons from other explorers, did not heed advice and generally planned and executed poorly. Other Amazon reviewers regard this as character assassination, but Scott comes across as a magnificent but tragic figure, whose personal shortcomings explain the failure of his mission. To those who view Scott as unimpeachably heroic, this doesn't sit easily.

Scott got thrashed to the South Pole by a lean, well-drilled team from an upstart nation (Norway having only achieved nationhood in 1905) which used appropriate technology and guerilla tactics.

The heroic Brits were trying to do it by majestic brute force - metaphorically and literally - and failed. There are obvious parallels to the contemporaneous fading of the British Empire.

This is a fast-paced and grippingly read story about some of the last epic explorers, and I very much enjoyed it, and also the CDs about Shackleton's Endurance expedition - an even more ripping yarn:

Endurance and Shackleton's Way: Both the Story and Leadership Lessons from the Antarctic Explorer Shackleton

The essence: Scott commands but Shackleton leads.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8bb8045c) out of 5 stars 18 reviews
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b9f712c) out of 5 stars Required reading for any polar scholar. 19 Oct. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Roland Huntford has written perhaps the best study of polar exploration. The contrast between the two , Amundsen and Scott, is so striking, it is a wonder that Scott is generally remembered at all.His methods were so slack, his personality so ill-suited to the task at hand, his leadership bordered on being criminally negligent. Scott became that strange type of British hero, one whose incompetence is romanticized into fame( i.e. The Titanic or the Charge of the Light Brigade). Amundsen however, dispays all the qualities necessary for a polar explorer (or any leader). He was smart, adaptable, inventive, and organized. He did have some faults(somewhat unforgiving, vanity), but his results made him the greatest polar explorer of all time.His deeds included the Northwest Passage, 1st to winter in the Antarctic, Of course the South Pole, first to complete the Northeast and Northwest Passage, first to fly across the Arctic Ocean.He was a modern Viking, always seeking the unknown. It is somewhat baffling that he is not more recognized for his accomplishments.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b9f7594) out of 5 stars An exceptional analysis of contrasting styles of leadership 3 Dec. 1998
By Catharine T. Clark Sayles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Scott and Amundsen is a study of two very different styles of leadership; that of Captain Robert F. Scott, RN of Great Britain and that of Roald Amundsen of Norway. It is a book well worth reading and is better than many contemporary leadership books. It is a study of men as well as countries. The Norwegians were able to maintain an oceanographic research vessel. The British had to make do with a converted sealing ship.
Scotts style was that of a traditional Naval officer in a service that had great traditions but had become stagnant as it entered the 20th Century. Scott gave an order and expected a cherry aye, aye sir, regardless of the difficulty in it's execution. He was also a man who was looking over his shoulder at the runners behind him. In his first expedition to Antarctica, he had managed to alienate one of his co-members and turned him into a fierce rival, Ernest Shackelton. It was this rivalry that drove Scott. Scott is also a perfect example of the concept of responding to new developements with "not invented here". Scott had several years between his two expeditions to plan, acquire proper material and train his expedition. The only original thinking was in the use of motor transport but then he fatally damaged this component when he jetisoned the principal technical officer that had worked on the motor sledges from the outset. Everything else was a rehash of his first expedition or that of Shackelton's. The use of horses in a desert environment, as the Antarctic is, was a tremendous failure that ultimately lead to the death of Scott and his party.
Amundsen on the other hand was a keen student of the exploration craft. He was constantly working to refine his equipment. He was not afraid to adapt the ways of the natives he met on his expeditions, as well as take suggestions and examples from other explorers, such as Frederick Cook. Amundsen never asked his men to do something he would not do himself. He set the example. Of course he made errors along the way but he recognized them, and even if he didn't admit to them directly, he learned from them. He was single minded and remained faithful to his mission. He did not allow himself to be distracted by sentiment and worry. He flet that the prize of being first at the South Pole was the only thing that mattered. He was a trail blazer. The scientists could come after him.
The two expeditions have been contrasted as a ful-blown assault and a raid. Amundsen's daring raid was a success and mounted as it was in the face of the challenge from Scott.
This book by Huntford is not to be missed. It is a first class effort by an author who understands both the British and Norwegian mindsets. I would urge that this book be required reading for all future military officers.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b9f75b8) out of 5 stars The Best Book on the Art of Management I Have Ever Read 16 Nov. 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Scott and Amundsen is a study of the contrasting styles of management of two of the great polar explorers. Scott was driven by an ambitious wife to be great. In the process of achieving immortal fame, he captained one ship into a collision, after which he recouped his fall from grace by embarking on a quest with the full backing of the Royal Navy. He chose a smorgasboard of options for getting to the South Pole: tractors, Siberian ponies, and dogs. He chose a like-minded crew of enthusiasts who were for the most part amateurs. Enthusiasm untempered with wisdom had a price. One tractor sank through the ice upon debarking, the other broke down with mechanical problems. The Siberian ponies ended up as dog meat, and the sled team saved a large portion of those who turned back from the Pole. Scott reached the Pole but died on the return trip with four companions. His diaries (edited by his wife) established his undying fame. Amundsen borrowed his ship from the other great polar explorer, Nansen. He handpicked the crew, each of whom were specialists. They trained extensively, adapted the garb and transportation of the Inuit, i.e. anoraks and dogs, used skis to break the trail in front of the dogs and reached the Pole nearly a month before Scott. The trip was carefully planned with the primary source of energy being meat. Initially it was seal meat, shot near the Antarctic shelf, and frozen. In the final leg, the trek became a literal "dog-eat-dog" experience, as planned. No man died, and the apparent ease with which Amundsen reached the Pole led some to believe that Amundsen's path was the easier. It was not. I was so impressed with this book that I wrote to the author and received an autographed copy of a British paperback recently issued by Grove and Weidenfeld.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b9f74e0) out of 5 stars Finally the truth! 29 Mar. 2000
By Katie A. Norcross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It has been over 80 years and only now the truth about 2 different Antartic expeditions have come to light.We can finally see Capt. Robert Falcon Scott as the bumbling, incompetent that he was. For his lack of planning, his weakness towards animals, and his general lack of coming to terms with the enviromental conditions he would be experiencing caused the deaths of 4 of his team mates, and his own as well.But we also see Capt. Roald Amundsen as a hard, cold man. He wouldn't accept criticism of his ideas and concepts. He could never forget an insult, or deny a friendship.This book details the ups and downs in both expeditions. Giving the reader of being along side each of the groups, and trying to cope with the hardships that each group endured.
HASH(0x8b9f7a08) out of 5 stars Great Read 26 Jun. 2010
By SML - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You wouldn't think that a bunch of guys running around in the ice and snow would be such a compelling read, but this is the book that started my fascination with the Polar Explorers of the 18th and 19th centuries, and made me want to learn more about my Nordic heritage. Whether you agree with Huntford's conclusions or not, his study of Nansen, Amundsen and other Norwegian figures and their country and culture is one that we seldom get from the general US education accounts of these explorations.

I recommend this book (or the abridged version that came out as "The Last Place on Earth") as a good starting place for people who think they might be interested in the "Great Polar Explorations," because, even if you disagree with his assessment of the leading characters, Huntford does a very good job of laying out the essential problems and dynamics of Polar travel (without becoming completely bogged down in minutiae).
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