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The Worst Journey In The World Paperback – 6 Nov 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; New edition edition (6 Nov. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844131033
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844131037
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"'When people ask me... "What is your favourite travel book?" I nearly always name this book. It is about courage, misery, starvation, heroism, exploration, discovery and friendship.'" (Paul Theroux)

"'The Worst Journey in the World is to travel what War and Peace is to the novel... a masterpiece.'" (A. Alvarez New York Review of Books)

Book Description

'In The Worst Journey in the World Cherry transformed tragedy and grief into something fine.' Sara Wheeler' 'The Worst Journey in the World goes in and out of print; but it is indestructible, because it is a masterpiece.' Paul Theroux

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This moving book of human courage, companionship and self sacrifice is the greatest I have ever read. The haunted, emotive words of the youngest man of the expedition, Cherry Garrard, leap across the years, making it both tragic and gripping, heroic and uplifting, and with final diary enteries of his dying comrades included, heart rendering. A true story of not only the toughest expediton to the South Pole but an account full of human warmth for the men who undertook the journey. At its conclusion one is left by the sense of deep admiration for those who reached beyond their normal selves, against overwhelming odds to achieve the impossible, not for riches, nor fame, but for the sake of universal human knowledge and achievement. My favourite book of all.
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Format: Paperback
"Polar Exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having bad time that has ever been devised..."
So begins Apsley Cherry-Garrard's "The Worst Journey in the World", a book haunted by the possibility that the author's decision to turn his dogs for home on 10th March 1912 may have cost Captain Scott and his two remaining companions their lives. Cherry-Garrard, the second youngest man to sail South in the Terra Nova, initially seemed to be the least suited to the hardships of Edwardian-era polar travel. A quiet, unassuming, chronically shortsighted member of the aristocracy he was initially plagued by self-doubt to almost the same degree as his expedition leader. All the more joyful then to find, in this excellent travel book, the emergence of one of the unsung heroes of the expedition. A gifted, gracious writer Cherry matter-of-factly chronicles the horrors experienced by the party over two long years in the South. The first half of the book records what amounts to Cherry's triumph (though is far too self-critical to acknowledge it as such). His growing confidence and adeptness on the boat journey down to the Antarctic, leading to his selection for the 3-man Winter Expedition to Cape Crozier to collect King Emperor penguin eggs. This 150 mile round trip - the 'Worst Journey' of the title - was undertaken in breath-takingly harsh conditions six months before the attempt on the Pole. Along with Edward Wilson and Henry 'Birdy' Bowers Cherry hauled 790 lbs of stores and equipment across treacherous, uncharted terrain in permanent darkness. The temperature reached minus 76C.
The Winter Journey can be seen as the saving grace for the entire fated trip - carried out at huge personal cost for nothing but the furtherment of scientific knowledge.
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Format: Paperback
There is a recurrent weakness among travel books, which is this: they all too often give the impression that the author set out on his travels for no better reason than to write about them. This is - emphatically - not one of those books. Polar explorers, these days, are often dismissed as self-glorifying adventures. There is a case for this as far as, say, Shackleton, is concerned, for all his heroic achievements once he was in a tight spot. Scott, on the other hand, merely used the quest for the pole as a selling point for an expedition of scientific research, a reason he felt was very worthwhile indeed. Cherry makes it clear in this book that everyone in the expedition - himself included - was prepared to endure hardships that are almost beyond the imagination of most of us for the sake of adding to mankind's store of knowledge - and in doing so inspires our awed respect and admiration. What they went through in merely reaching the Antarctic continent in the first place is enough to chill the blood. Also, Scott himself is too often dismissed as an incompetent leader who got himself and his men killed - but Cherry redresses that view, and surely no-one is better qualified to make that assessment.
It's unfortunate that the legacy of this expedition, in the public mind, is that of a botched attempt to secure a scrap of glory for the British Empire. If you want to know better, this is the book to read. I may buy another copy just so that I can read it again for the first time.
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By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 July 2003
Format: Paperback
In an age of cynicism and the popular sport of debunking of old heroes, this book makes a refreshing read. It was written in a more innocent age and this is certainly a strenth of the book together with the honest integrity of the author Cherry Apsley-Gerrard. Here is a man well qualified to write of Scott's last expedition as he was there. Not only well qualified but a fine writer in his own right as anyone reading the book will find.

Through the authors eyes we get to know the persons involved in a more intimate way. Scott, highly strung and full of nervous energy but a true leader of men. The author does not shirk in describing him. Wilson, the gentle man of science who is popular with everyone. The indefatigable Bowers willing to take on any task with a cheerful face. The taciturn Oates, who people only seem to remember for his heroic gesture, turns out to be a gifted orator illuminating many a long polar night with his unsuspected gift.

In this age we should be inspired by their bravery for the advances of science,their comradeship and their ability to take on impossible tasks without complaint. We should admire the resolute way they refused to leave any man behind, unlike some modern day mountaineers who choose to ignore the dying, ensnared in that temporary insanity known as summit fever. These men lived like true English gentlemen and died like true English gentlemen. The grain ran deep. In an age when many an unworthy is held up as a hero, here we have examples to all of what this word truly means.
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