11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Great book - an up to date account of the south pole story,
This review is from: Tom Crean: Unsung Hero of the Scott and Shackleton Antarctic Expeditions (Hardcover)
I do recommend this book. This is another worthwhile account of the "Heroic Age" explorers' battle with Antarctica. It is ostensibly about Tom Crean's experience. Crean was on 3 Antarctic expeditions (Scott's Discovery, Scott's ill-fated South Pole trek and Shackleton's "Endurance"). Unfortunately, Crean was not a great note-taker, so "his" accounts are usually as recorded by other members of the respective expeditions. The book does borrow heavily (and acknowledges it) from many of the previous titles about this incredible period of exploration in the last undiscovered continent. I think it is worth reading for a number of reasons: the story is told well, and these expeditions are true and gripping adventure stories; it is told (by Michael Smith) from the point of view of a man who was not an officer, and had expressed no ambitition to explore but turned out to be one of the most respected and reliable men to have in an expedition team; it gently but persistently points out key areas where Scott (probably influenced by Markham) stubbornly adhered to out-dated modes of polar exploration - and unfortuately he paid the ultimate price, whilst Amundsen gained the prize.
I have read "The World's Worst Journey" by Cherry-Gerrard and "South" by Shackleton. These are very good books, but Michael Smith's account reveals some important extra detail which addressed some of my unanswered questions after reading the two first-hand stories. Incidentally, I was on holiday in Ireland (October 2003) when I bought the book so had a chance to visit Crean's "South Pole Inn" public house, and visited the Antarctic/Crean exhibition at the Tralee museum in County Kerry. It added an unexpected interest to my holiday.