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on 22 March 2017
As advertised, Scott's journals ,so feel I have to give it 4 stars but on the whole disappointed as the several books I had already read on Scott's last expedition had already mined these journals and I was already aware of the more interesting bits of his journals. Far too much of the content consisted of Scott writing about his observations of natural phenomena in the Antartic and as he was not trained in any scientific discipline I found much of this uninformed speculation, much of it either obvious or inaccurate..Its almost as if Scott was determined to demonstrate the value of his expedition to scientific research as a contrast to Amundsen's lack of scientific interest. Just in case he was beaten to the pole ? More content on the humans under his command and how they reacted to their deprivations would have been more appropriate and interesting. Despite Ranulph Fiennes defence of Scott in the face of modern criticism of Scott, the journals do underline some of what I would consider mistakes by Scott. However the journals also underline Scott's coursge and that of his men and I think despite the mistakes few could have achieved their many successes. Scott was a competent writer but not as skilled as the many later authors whose accounts of this expedition are both more stirring and interesting.The mistakes and what he lacks as a writer are not intended by me a criticisms. He was n't a trained witer although he probably wrote dry and boring navy reports , and it was impossible for any of the Antarctic pioneers to avoid mistakes.
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on 6 September 2016
The 'story' of Scott's expedition is well known & you can't get a better telling of it than from the man himself! I was expecting this to be a bit of a long read, what with it being basically a diary, but no, Scott is a fine writer considering the nature of the journals & conditions, & weaves the tale well, with variety, good description, admiration for his men & even humour! My admiration for these brave, fine, extraordinary adventurers & scientists has been much impressed on me by reading this book & I was gripped by the unfolding story, from the seemingly mundane descriptions of various cloud formations & their effect on the weather to the unbearable last pages!!
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on 16 June 2017
excellent read if you're interested in Scott etc
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on 18 December 2010
Having been in the Antarctic I understand why Scott and others felt they just had to go back. But it takes no prisoners - you work with it and live or you work against it and die. There's no room for chance. And that's what Scott did - even at the Pole he realised his chance of getting back was far from guarranteed. Here in his journals, which are very readable and yet fully detailed, we find the story as it unfolds to the bitter end. This is an excellent little book - cheap, illustrated with photos and maps, and an excellent read as you suffer with Scott and his companions as the seeds of destruction are unwittingly sown and things begin to fall apart from the outset. Despite all that's been said against the man, he is a great man yet of his time and profession, with its prejudices and constrictions. This is the greatest adventure story you will ever read. Thanks to Oxford for making it so available in this edition.
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on 29 March 2017
Lovely book of Scott's Journals. Had been looking for those for some time. Fascinating read. Gave the whole story in his own words. Book was in great condition and arrived when expected.
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on 9 March 2012
This is not a comment on Scott's Journals, but a warning to avoid the Kindle version of this title published by Oxford University Press. It's necessary to make this clear, since Amazon has a habit of lumping together reviews of the same title, even when they clearly refer to very different editions.

Signs that Kindle readers are being shabbily treated are evident from the outset when, presumably as a result of a botched search-and-replace, one encounters the following formulations in the introduction: `introductionspective', `introductionduced' and `introductionducing', as well as one instance of `scott' and one of `printduring'.

Thankfully, the main text is relatively error-free, but there are a couple of instances of missing text: one in the narrative itself, which runs, `found to have quite a lot of fat on him and the' (the sentence stops there), and one in the notes that attributes `Slough of Despond' to `one of the scenes in part 1 of B' (which was obviously intended to say, `Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress"'). Moreover, several tables are rendered virtually useless at any text size due to erratic tabulation and arbitrary line-endings, while note numbers aren't actively linked to their respective notes, which means a good deal of page-saving and searching through the Kindle's Notes and Marks function. Finally, the index is of no practical use whatsoever.

While some of these shortcomings might be tolerable in cheaply produced editions, they become unacceptable when issued by renowned publishers like OUP and Penguin (whose Kindle edition of Fitzgerald's `This Side of Paradise' leaves much to be desired), retailing at prices not much lower than one would pay for their own print editions.

Though the responsibility for highlighting these errors of negligence shouldn't fall on Kindle users, until Amazon revises its returns policy for Kindle purchases, there seems little more we can do to encourage improved quality control among publishers.

Update: Since these comments were posted, the cost of the Kindle edition has varied from £5.38 to £0.99 and back to £5.38. Other customers might feel they can live with its shortcomings at the lower price, but should Kindle users to expected to reconcile themselves to second best? A lemon is a lemon at any price, and it remains inexcusable that such a shoddy item should have been issued by a major publisher.
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on 9 March 2008
Even though the text in Scott's writings have been, occasionally, `tampered' with by modifying the most hurtful remarks made against his men, this journal lists changes made and cites them at the back.

For me, Scott's greatest talent was his literary skill even though on occasion he seems to be writing to different audiences; including times when he appears to be writing to himself.

A superb lyrical account and first hand insight into moments of optimism, joy, passion, bravery, frustration, hope, misery and death.
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on 12 March 2017
For a journal, this is eloquently written and enormously engaging. True, there are plenty of descriptions of the weather, but there are also evocative accounts of life in Antarctica and the many adventures of Scott and his men. There are tales of high drama, scientific research, troubles, mistakes that are obvious in hindsight, bravery, incredible endurance and dignity. With us, or his journal, Scott shares his hopes and doubts. In the last few days, as things slide towards disaster, it's heartbreaking.

The Oxford World's Classics edition includes an appendix detailing all the changes made to Scott's journal before it was published. Contrary to what I'd read beforehand, these changes are rarely significant. Scott's original words don't show him in a totally different, less flattering light. Rather, they show him as a human being, occasionally venting his frustration in the privacy of his journal.

If you only read one book on polar exploration, you should probably read The Worst Journey in the World, by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, who was able to paint a fuller picture and write with a depth of perspective denied to Scott. However, if you read two, then read this: a detailed, poignant account with an unmatchable sense of immediacy.
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on 11 April 2012
A useful introduction by Max Jones covers Scott the hero, the failure, and Scott as judged by more recent revisionists.

If this expedition had not been lead by Scott failure would have been on the cards anyway. British preferences in equipment were weak: poor tents (no sewn-in groundsheets, and slow to erect), weak clothing, poor diets (both insufficient, and with no clear understanding of scurvy); and there was a preference for man-hauling (determined in part by what they were able to handle confidently, but also by the thought that this was more heroic than using dogs). Shackleton had come to within 100 miles of the pole using ponies and man-hauling, but had the good judgement to turn back when he felt they could do no more. Scott followed Shackleton's route and based his planning round beating Shackleton's recorded distances.

Throughout this journal Scott's anxieties dominate. There are also practical oddities: for example, in a very heavily loaded ship taking the expedition south Scott found room for a pianola. Scott's thinking was confused on methods of hauling - by tractors, dogs, ponies and men. Scott also overlooked important details - for example the known evaporation of fuel from cans in depots (Amundsen took special care here by soldering the seams of his fuel cans).

Scott had determination; but he was always looking for 'good luck'. Maybe the weather was not kind to him on the return journey, but due allowance should have been made for this.

Scott's journal inevitably reflects the values of Edwardian society which now seem rather out of touch. The rigid division of his party into 'men' and 'officers' is just one example. Above all Scott was looking to posterity, and wanted his journal to show that his expedition showed British guts, even though the Pole had been previously reached by Amundsen. Scott's scientific interests were as important to him as a race to the Pole; but Scott recognised that reaching the Pole first was a priority he failed to achieve
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on 25 May 2009
This book was a very interesting read but evoked feelings of deep sadness knowing the ultimate outcome. Scott's personality comes through his writing and left me rather disillusioned, however, the bravery and forebearance of his team was incredible. The lives the dogs and horses from the start to their end was heartbreaking. All in all a tragic story but enlightening.
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