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on 3 September 2013
This unassuming Englishman is one of our greatest adventure explorers - a national treasure! His attempts to just set off into the largely unknown are legendary and on this occasion he inspired me to sample running my own team of 6 dogs in the relative safety of Finland. Brilliant!
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on 24 June 2017
An interesting insight into the planning and carrying out of a journey across the Bering Strait. What to expect, how the indigenous live and mental courage required to live in such an inhospitable land.
Well worth the read.
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on 2 April 2018
wanted this for long time
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on 24 October 2014
its ok but to start with but found it a bit long winded and it did not keep my attention
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on 7 February 2014
I've been a fan of Mr. Allen's writing for a good long time. From his first BBC series The Skeleton Coast, I was hooked by his minimalistic, bares bones ideal of exploration, his attitude that the landscape should leave it's impression on the traveller, not the other way around. While his writing style has varied by his own admission - Mad White Giant being the account of a naive traveller biting off more that he can chew and Through Jaguar Eyes, in my opinion, being his best (and most conventional) travel book - Into the Abyss changes tack again, the same author aiming for something a little bit different, asking the question that many have asked him - what drives people to survive?

His previous diaries, published as the Skeleton Coast and Edge of Blue Heaven recorded the trials of completing previously undocumented routes across some of the most unforgiving terrain on the planet. Into the Abyss takes the same kind of impossible-to-complete journey, but flavours it with vivd portraits of the characters that he meets along the way, and presents an almost sympathetic portrait of the environment that you feel is ready to snuff out his chances of return at every turn. The author is fully aware that in the deserts or the arctic, he is a mere interloper, not meant to be there. The dogs (or camels in the desert) and the indigenous people are far more suited to living in the arctic than he can ever be.

The key thing about Allen's travels is the number of times he fails, and how he finds strength through failure. Often he sets off with everyone telling him how impossible his trip, how the time of year is wrong, and how often he is told by those who allegedly know better to come back in six months when the timing is better. Perhaps the Englishness of the wry observations put readers off, but I honestly can't find fault with this book as other reviewers have.

Benedict lays bare the truth about going it alone and make no bones about how he feels, he gets it wrong many times and admits that his own inexperienced way of doing things is to blame, but he manages to live to tell the tale.
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on 13 April 2014
Wonderfull to revisit with Mr. Allen's adventure in the wilds of frozen Syberia. The writing is excellent with clean clear narrative.

After reading I shall put away for a few months just to have the oppertunity to revisit.
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on 27 August 2015
I persevered for 73 pages, but gave up due to waiting for the story to start. Boy does the author drag out his ..... well, his boring waffle. It was so boring and so waffly that I became confused as to what he was actually trying to relay. Anyway... Having read other reviews that confirm my suspicions that the book continues to be boring, I'm giving up. It seems I am not the adventurous type, at least not when it comes to literary endurance anyway.
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on 11 September 2007
The synopsis of this book tells the whole story about the book, its content and the author. Tells the story how little attention is paid to the detail and how much attention to general impression. Obviously the synopsis of paperback edition is edited form hardcover edition. The Shakelton is now Shackleton, but Ranulf remained with out change and it should be Ranulph. Unfortunately, the book is full of similar errors and omissions. I wonder was this book proof read by someone with a good knowledge about the Polar Regions and history. But then the whole book would be at the question? I wonder in what way Simpson, Fiennes and for that matter the author are the modern counterparts of Columbus, Cortez,… Never mind, the lecturing only counts. As a Polar history expert I do not recommend this book.
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on 12 September 2007
The synopsis of this book tells the whole story about the book, its content and the author. Tells the story how little attention is paid to the detail and how much attention to general impression. Obviously the synopsis of paperback edition is edited form hardcover edition. The Shakelton is now Shackleton, but Ranulf remained with out change and it should be Ranulph. Unfortunately, the book is full of similar errors and omissions. I wonder was this book proof read by someone with a good knowledge about the Polar Regions and history. But then the whole book would be at the question? I wonder in what way Simpson, Fiennes and for that matter the author are the modern counterparts of Columbus, Cortez,' Never mind, the lecturing only counts. As a Polar history expert I do not recommend this book
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on 16 November 2007
I abandoned this book as it is utterly boring. It is certainly not a page-turner. Its author has a patronising and discouraging attitude. He underestimates the intellect of his readers. His major fault, however, is over-elaboration and particularly when it is so unnecessary. Anyone taking up the career of exploration would be best advised to avoid this book. The author's communication skill is appalling. How anyone could find the book interesting is beyond my comprehension. It almost slayed my interest in exploration and discovery
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