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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

on 1 June 2012
The book arrived on time and was as good as i exspected and was good value for the money all in all very pleased
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on 27 July 2013
There are a great number of biographies of Robert Falcon Scott, the man who led the Terra Nova expedition to Antarctica in 1911/12. His trek to the South Pole - his forestalling by the Norwegian Amundsen - and his death with 4 companions on his return journey - are known of by very many - part now of the folklore of British history. This one, by Elspeth Huxley was written in 1977 - well before Roland Huntford's extremely critical appraisal of Scott (Scott and Amundsen, 2000) or Crane's more measured account (Scott of the Antarctic, 2005).

I found this version very entertaining and informative and remarkably well written. More than any other, Huxley provides an account which offers profound understanding of what made Scott the man he was. In places, her writing style is 'homespun' but her content is anything but. Her research is prodigious, providing some insights which I have not found elsewhere. Huxley is clearly sympathetic to a romantic view of Scott's life and achievements, but she does not shirk from pointing out the factors which inevitably led to his 'heroic' demise. I remain convinced that Scott was an honest, well-meaning man, much admired by most of his contemporaries, despite the fact that the overall shape of his last expedition meant that the risks he took were very high indeed. And despite some opinions to the contrary, I think Scott's focus on the science of Antarctica was totally genuine and results were remarkable.

Those who somehow feel that Scott was something else will disagree with Huxley's overall appraisal, and will not share my views, but I think she has got it right
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on 3 June 1998
Huxley gives the background information on why and how the South Pole expedition of 1910 -1913 became a disaster. The author gives valuable information to understand the history of this endeavor and why Scott was chosen as a leader beginning in the 1880s. She gives an excellent insight on preparations of the expedition and Scott's rivalry with Shackleton. The analysis on why Scott chose ponies and motor sledges as auxillary means of transport over dogs is excellent. The mixture of amateurism and masochism that led to failure shown by the immense feeling of pride to do everything -especially man-hauling the sledges- the hard way has not been explained as well in any other book I have read on the subject. In the foreword the author states that Scott only became a hero because he died and led his four companions into death. After reading the book one can only wonder how muchbecoming a hero might have been a motive that led to self-destruction after having only been second to the Pole after Amundsen's Norwegian expedition.
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on 5 September 1999
This is a great book!
It is also an object lesson on how to be "British"!
Why is failure a British obsession? Robert Falcon Scott undertook two expeditions to the Antarctic. The final fatal one, a complete human disaster, is the story of how a heartbreakingly lengthy run of bad luck ended with it's Captain being cast forever in "British" folklore.
Huxley genuinely liked Scott, and as a result, I did too. It is impossible to do otherwise!! She gives a really warm impression of all the men involved in the story, and the bitterest impression of the conditions endured by men ill equipped even for a night on Ben Nevis let alone the coldest places on earth!
This book is also worth reading for all the satellite stories that are associated with the voyages. Human endurance pushed to the furthest limits. Inspiring and mind-boggling.
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