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Journals - Robert Falcon Scott

This is the excellent two year journal of the second and last Antarctic expedition by Captain Scott between 1910-12. I find with most published diaries/journals that within a few pages you know if it will be to your liking. From page one of this book I was in for the ride. Apart from a glittering career in the Royal Navy, Scott was a very eloquent journal writer, and it shines through on every page.

This was real deal polar exploration in an era when parts of the world like Antarctica might as well have been on another planet in their remoteness. The book starts with Scottís team voyaging South on the Terra Nova from New Zealand chronicling their two month sea journey before they land in the frozen wilderness at the edge of the world.

What follows is Scottís musings on Antarctica, its wildlife, weather, and geology. Before their trek to the South pole, the team carry out scientific experiments, photography, and the building of a solid base camp in which to dwell. He writes in awe at the wildlife and other worldliness of the terrain, and speaks fondly of the excellent team of engineers, scientists, and fellow explorers. Not to mention his observations of the dogs and horses they have brought with them to aid the expeditionís speed. As most of us know, Scott and the men that accompanied him to the South pole perished on their journey back to the base camp, and even when reading this dead manís words its still enthralling even though you already know how the story ends.

This isnít Ray Mears spending a couple of weeks eating seal burgers with a camera crew and some confused looking Inuits, this is the story of men who ventured into mostly unknown territory, thousands of miles from civilisation for two years with no way of communicating with the rest of the world, and in the South pole teamís case knew they had to negotiate their way back over approx 800 miles of freezing hell.

To the end Scott records everything in detail, and even as he was on the edge of his own death managed to draft letters to the wives and children of the men who had already passed away, detailing their bravery and other attributes.

This Oxford Worldís Classics edition includes photoís and has a great introduction detailing Scottís life, the build up and planning for the expedition, and the aftermath following the finding of the teams bodies some eight months after they died. An amazing tale, and even though Scott didnít live, the reader can see that in his final two years, most of his days were filled with the wonderment of nature and the thriving team spirit of this very fine band of men. An excellent and inspiring read.
Late Doors

Ace. Cheers
what a story it is and a fab review, added to list Forum Index -> Fishy Tales
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