Top positive review
11 people found this helpful
on 17 February 2012
I'll add to the praise being heaped on this book. There are many books on Scott and other Antarctic explorers these days, many far from essential, but this is undoubtedly one to add to the collection if you have an interest in the subject.
The text is excellent and does a marvellous job in describing the entire expedition for the uninitiated, as well as providing plenty of fresh insight for those in the know. I consider myself something of an old hand on the subject of Scott but I learnt several new things. The maps are also superb, clearly identifying the features referred to and amongst the best I've seen.
The photographs are, of course, the main point to the book and are reproduced to a high standard. Scott was learning the photographer's art from Ponting and many of the early shots are experimental with varying degrees of success. Seeing Scott's first attempts helps appreciate how quickly he learnt and how well he came to understand photography in difficult conditions. Some of the later photographs, in particular those taken on the Beardmore Glacier, stand comparison with Ponting's work. The pity is that Scott never got to see the results.
Finally, I would suggest that anybody who buys this book also buys Scott's Journals (available for around a fiver) if you don't already have them. Reading the daily entries (where Scott sometimes mentions that he has been taking photographs) and then studying the photographs at the same time really adds a lot to the experience and helps make you appreciate the different aspects of the expedition far more. The sequences showing the ponies trudging through white-out conditions and drifting snow on the Barrier cannot fail to move, and reading Scott's anguish at the situation make these images really come alive.
Well-worth spending your money on.