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Customer Review

on 23 March 2004
Tom Crean was an Irish hero without being a rebel, unlike his many contemporary Irishmen. All I ever read about in school was Pearse, et al. Without getting into the politics of it all, it is refreshing to now see Crean get his due regard, finally.
Crean's is an impossibly unbelieveable story of bravery, physical and mental strength, perseverance, and sheer bloody-mindedness. He triumphs despite a lack of formal education. The Edwardian officer and men naval distinctions meant that men like Crean could only ever play supporting roles to the main characters, like Scott and Shackleton. But Crean rose above all of that and contributed immensely to several major polar expeditions. He was one of two men who accompanied Shackleton on the final leg of the legendary cross South Georgia trek, and he was among the final three men to survive the ill-fated Scott expedition. If someone had written a fiction account of a fictional character, no-one would believe it was at all plausible!
If I have any doubts about the book it is not to do with the detail or the empathy displayed by the author. He tells a gripping set of tales with great enthusiasm. However, it very badly needed a stronger editor - whole passages of the book are loosely written and repetitive. The tone is sometimes stilted and the prose awkward. But don't let that dissuade you from buying and reading this stirring account.
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