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Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard (Modern Library Paperbacks) Paperback – April 1, 2003
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A man of substantial means and a strong sense of duty, Cherry "recoiled from the sedate life of the country squire," throwing himself into strenuous adventures whenever he was not crippled by episodes of severe depression which haunted him his entire life. After returning from the pole, he traveled to eastern China as part of a zoological expedition and then served Britain in World War I before writing The Worst Journey in the World, which National Geographic has called the greatest adventure book of all time. Wheeler covers not only his many adventures, but the inner workings of the man, such as his bouts with mental illness, including delusional phases, hypochondria, and severe anxiety, all of which affected his physical health as well. She also covers his often complex relationships, including his close friendship with George Bernard Shaw, who certainly influenced Cherry's writing. Written with the cooperation of Cherry's widow and full access to his papers and notes, this is the first authorized biography of this extraordinary man. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
But he did not disappear, as you might expect-instead he turned out the memoir "The Worst Journey in the World," often acclaimed as the greatest adventure memoir of all time.
Ironically, Cherry's life might at first have seemed an almost featureless existence, punctuated two remarkable events-a life-threatening adventure and a best-selling book. But author Sara Wheeler does a remarkable job bringing her subject to life both as a sympathetic individual and as a kind of symbol of his era. The quality of her scholarship is really excellent - she has left no paper relating to Cherry unturned, and documents her sources in an unobtrusive but comprehensive set of notes after the text, leaving the powerful narrative flow of the main text uninterrupted.
It's a very exciting book; I would have offered 5 stars but the narrative does frankly slow down a lot after "Worst Journey" gets published; and in any case I think time might be equally well spent on Cherry's own book.
Once again, I'm impressed with her writing ability. And, she does an excellent job giving us some insight into this conflicted, interesting man. I found the section on the publicity following their return to New Zealand fascinating. I knew that Cherry-Garrard castigated himself, for the rest of his life, about not having gone against orders by proceeding farther than One Ton Depot to look for the returning party. But, I had no idea how negative some of the comments/publicity were at that time. Those accounts gave me a better insight into how difficult it would have been not to be self-critical--even for someone who did not have those tendencies--as Cherry-Garrard certainly did.
Wheeler also includes comments from others' diaries that I had not heard before. It is impossible to sort out everything now, so long after actual events, but there is a lot of 'grist' for the mill here. The accounts about Teddy Evans are interesting--more negative than I expected.
I respect Wheeler's abilities as a researcher but I do keep in mind that no account can be entirely accurate now, looking back through the lens of time. And, on a wonderful trip to the Peninsula a few years ago, I heard an 'expert' sniff that Wheeler was not entirely up to snuff in terms of accuracy. This comment doesn't make me extremely doubtful about her findings, however, since she certainly convinces me when I take the 'whole' of her books.
If you're interested in Antarctic exploration, Scott's last trip, or a piercing account of a gentleman of his time, get the book--you won't be disappointed.
Cherry was a complex man who struggled with his personal demons for most of his life. Wheeler presents his story with compassion and objectivity, and my only objection is that she is not nearly hard enough on Captain Scott. Scott and his companions did not die because of Cherry's failure to rescue them; they died because of Scott's bungling.
If you're interested in the history of Antarctic exploration, "Cherry" is a must-read. However, be prepared for the fact that some of it is a bit less than cheerful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
well documented Antartica adventure and the effect on ACG's life.Published 4 months ago by Eugene A. Dutkin
Great reading Cherry was lucky to be alive not being picked to go to the pole with ScottPublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent read whether you are into arctic stories or not. Lots of details about the expeditions that were new to me. And many more about his later personal life.Published 10 months ago by angeldog
I tried to read "the worst journey in the world" but couldn't get into it. Sara Wheeler has written a biography of a man who did an extra-ordinary thing in his youth. Read morePublished on September 10, 2013 by Peter Arthur
That was a very good book, mainly because you'll appreciate to learn a complex personnality like Apsley. Read morePublished on May 8, 2010 by Marc Ranger
Tough to scold the author on this since her depiction of 'Cherry' was probably accurate....which raised the question, Is a book about this spoiled relic of the age of the upper... Read morePublished on September 2, 2006 by Robert F. Hynes
Not the book that I'd hoped for.I found the book for the most part dense with minor details and uninteristing. Read morePublished on June 12, 2006 by Annaliese K. Tapee