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Journals: Captain Scott's Last Expedition (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – September 1, 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In November 1910, a ship called Terra Nova left New Zealand on its way south to Antarctica. On board was an international team of explorers led by Robert Falcon Scott, a man determined to be the first to reach the South Pole. A year and a half later, Scott and three members of his team died during a brutal blizzard. Their dream of reaching the Pole first had already been dashed by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, and now on their return trip--slowed by ill health and bad weather--Scott's party found themselves trapped in a tent without sufficient provisions, while the wind howled endlessly outside. Even in his final hours, Scott found the strength to continue the journal he'd started at the beginning of his adventures; the diary was found beside his frozen body.

Scott's Last Expedition: The Journals is the explorer's detailed account of his time in Antarctica. The team's daily progress towards their final goal is recorded in Scott's vivid, personal narrative, as well as his impressions of the harsh conditions, the stark beauty of the tundra, and his own increasingly desperate ambition to beat his rivals to the Pole. Shortly before he died, Scott wrote: "Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman." Robert Falcon Scott and his men died, but their story lives on in his journals. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

`Review from previous edition ' a damn good read'' Literary Review, November 2005
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reissue edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199536805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199536801
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1.1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #720,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The authoritive reference for what happened on Scott's polar journey - since it was written by the man himself. Don't be put off by the appalling introduction by Bainbridge (which ruins the story if you don't know all the details since it is just a brief summary of the rest of the book - just skip it!). I wouldn't recommend reading this first (try Scott by Elspeth Huxley as an intro) but for historical interest if you get into the history of the antarctic this is a must. The actual description of the southern journey only makes up the final section of the book, most of it is concerned with the depot laying and over wintering parts of the expedition. As such most of the book is mostly concerned with the details of preparing for the journey and hence probably won't appeal as a general introduction to Scott's last expedition.
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We had taken a trip to Antarctica on which lecturers referred often to Robert Scott. When we returned and I got this book, it became a reading experience like no other. Since everyone knows he and his men die at the end, that was not a surprise. The surprise was learning through the pages what would be the deciding factors that would ultimately cause their return to fail. Since I read thirty minutes a day, the unfolding drama read like a postcard from Scott to a sister or aunt telling events as they happened. Because it is a diary and includes the thoughts of a person, I came to know him like a friend. The book taught me how difficult it is to endure the challenges of Antarctica on a long term basis. It was an extraordinary experience with a book which I will always remember. May many others read this book and marvel at the character, motivation, determination and greatness of an amazing man.
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Format: Paperback
While the story is known to most armchair explorers, nothing beats the saga right from the horse's mouth. Yes, the journal does drag in places, but so do long days of waiting in the Antarctic. It makes us impatient and edgy, wondering if the storms will ever end or what equipment will break next. Knowing the climax detracts nothing from how they got there--or didn't. This and Shackleton's own story really have to be read if one enjoys this kind of tale.
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Format: Paperback
You have to give credit when credit is due. Even if Robert Falcon Scott made tons of errors while leading the Terra Nova expedition to Antarctica, even if those errors resulted in human loss, boy, what an extraordinary, marvelous writer he was.

After reading tons of adventure and exploration books, you tend to appreciate real talent when you encounter it.
Robert Falcon Scott was a GREAT writer. This book is about the brutal expedition Scott lead to be the first human being at the South Pole. By now, I guess you all know he came in second to Roal Amundsen by mere weeks, and gave up his life (along with those of his 4 comrades) while trying to get back to Cape Evans.

What those poor, frozen, starving and sick human being went through is simply horrific. And Scott's writing more than draw a clear picture of what they experienced.

I suggest you read Scott's journals first. Then, if you really want to know WHY they died, you can pick up "The last place on earth" by Roland Huntford, which is another masterpiece in it's own right.

Scott's book is one of the most poignant work of litterature you can pick up.
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Format: Paperback
Why read this version, which has been heavily edited by multiple hands, when the original is now available, in the form of Huntford's Race for the South Pole: The Expedition Diaries of Scott and Amundsen? Though I would suggest skipping Huntfords commentary and just reading the diaries, for the first reading at least. Like so many in this controversy, Huntford has become a zealot and a bit hard to take.

BTW, there is a terrific amount of primary source Scott material on the net now, free for the taking, including the original SCOTT"S LAST EXPEDITION complete with nice period typesetting and original photos, no need to read third hand rehashes like this book.
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Format: Paperback
Having read Beryl Bainbridge's "The Birthday Boys" first, I was curious to read the actual journals by the leader of this ill-fated expedtion to the South Pole. Yes, the diary format can be monotonous, but in a certain way it also serves to drive home the daily -- sometimes hourly -- struggles against every possible obstacle, from weather to poor planning to inappropriate equipment and animals to short rations to frozen oil. Scott strikes me as one of that vanished breed of Englishmen whose likenesses hang in the National Portrait Gallery who undertook all sorts of adventures in the name of science and exploration at the turn of the century and attempted to claim various "firsts" for the crown and greater glory of God and country. Wrongheaded though he may have been, this book really gripped me. When Scott and his disappointed, starving and sick companions freeze to death only miles from their last camp, it is truly tragic. Perhaps the factual nature of his journals makes the fate of this expedition even more poignant. The image of these men in their tent has been with me for several days now so the writing and the story clearly get to one. Amundsen wrote somewhere that Scott would be more remembered for what befell him that he himself would be for getting to the South Pole first. in fact, he was right.
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