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Race to The End: Amundsen, Scott, and the Attainment of the South Pole Hardcover – May 4, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

MacPhee is the curator of an exhibit running May 2010–January 2011 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City about the geographic and scientific exploration of Antarctica; his volume chronicles the continent’s two most celebrated pioneers. Drawing from and synthesizing the literature about Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott and their epic treks to the South Pole a century ago, MacPhee wends his text around a profusion of imagery that should excite both the novice and veteran reader of polar exploration. Photographs from both leaders’ expeditions and present-day studio poses of artifacts enrich MacPhee’s factual rendering of events and, in the case of Scott, his restrained comments on the reasons for Scott’s and his men’s expiration on their return from the pole. If many of Scott’s decisions were questionable, few then and only the churlish since question the heroism that attaches to his fate. An attractive package, this title will answer immediate requests and might provoke deeper interest in MacPhee’s classic sources, such as Amundsen’s South Pole (1912) and Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s Worst Journey in the World (1937). --Gilbert Taylor

Review

To accompany his American Museum of Natural History (AMNH exhibit, Race to the end of the Earth, open May 29 through January 2, 2011, MacPhee (curator, Division of Vertebrate Zoology, AMNH; Primates and Their Relatives in Phylogenetic Perspective) presents Robert Falcon Scott (for the UK) and Norwegian Roald Amundsen’s act to claim first arrival at the South Pole for his nation. Each explorer’s story has been told often before, dissected, and minutely examined owing to the tragedy that befell Scott and his crew on their return trip from the Pole, which Amundsen had reached first. What makes this volume special are the scores of pictures that bring both Scott’s and Amundsen’s stories to life, including heretofore unseen images of Scott’s last camp, an important contribution to polar literature, as well as excellent reproduction of diaries, the British Antarctic Expedition’s newspaper, the South Polar Times, and images of all the important individuals whose fate is inextricably tied to this quest. Race also includes fabulous panoramas taken from a February 22, 1913, edition of The Sphere, which commemorated Scott’s expedition. Gatefolds showing the two expedition routes to the pole are included. VERDICT: Such a cool book; the juxtaposition of these two polar expeditions in photographic detail makes Race a welcome addition to Antarctic literature and a must for adventure, polar, and exploration collections. Highly recommended. -- Library Journal
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling Innovation; Slp edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402770294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402770296
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 9.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have beeb reading various books of polar explorations since childhood. Having recently read South Pole by Amundsen, and The Worst Journey in the World by Cherry-Garrard, I was quite impressed by the objective view this author projected. It is very difficult to imagine what circumstances both explolers had to contend with as well as securing the financing of exploration, it is hard to transcend today's environment and go back to 1910-1912. The photos included provided a view of how cumbersome some of the instruments, wears were compared to today's technology. It was a wonderfully written account of both explorations. I am partial to Amundsen's approach, planning, very thorough and comprehensive, and I am sure that contributed to his winning the competition and more importantly, bringing every member back to the safety of civilizations in the end. Well documente book.
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Format: Hardcover
Just got the book on publication date (4th May, 2010). I coudn't wait to get my eyes on it, being a student of Antarctic's Heroic era.

I was not dissapointed. Great, powerful work. There are many priceless pictures, never before printed or published for the general public. One set of photographs shows the Scott polar party at the south pole. No words can describe the horror of those photographs. Scott appears more defeated and beat than on the classic South Pole shot where Birdie Bower pulled the string.

Two pictures are particularly disturbing. One shows Uncle Bill Wilson in a very odd manner, surely he is not doing what he appears to be doing. Another shows Titus Oates in the process of dissapearing...Another pictures the same Oates, sitting on the cold snow, utterly defeated, beat, lost, suffering beyond imagining and hopeless.

One other picture shows Amundsen, Shackelton and Robert Peary in New-York, posing for posterity around a globe.

Two IMMORTALS GIANTS and a brutal, immoral and remorseless faker.

For the pictures alone, this book is pure gold.

That book is an absolute must for everybody interested in Antarctica exploration.

A treasure.
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Format: Hardcover
This is quite an impressive book published by the American Museum of Natural History in conjunction with their exhibit on the race for the South Pole between Scott and Amundsen.

The story is very well-known, so the book only fills in a lot of things that were minor, but informative. There are photos taken at the time of "the race" and also fairly recently. The text is straightforward and easy to comprehend, and even though you know how it is going to turn out, you find yourself rooting for Scott to not only win the race, but to survive.

The book reveals that the tragedy of Scott's expedition was due, not only to reliance on man hauling as opposed to dog sleds, but a real lack of comprehensive planning on Scott's part before the actual run for the Pole began. Amundsen was more of a meticulous thinker, and he planned everything quite carefully, leaving nothing to chance. His personality was not like Scott's, for he was single-minded and determined to be the first to the Pole, and anyone who disagreed with anything he did was "banished' from the potential Pole team. Scott was more haphazard, even taking an extra man on the final push to the Pole, which strained his meager resources, and quite possibly cost him his life, and the lives of his companions.

In the Edwardian age, heroes who died striving to achieve a goal were often lauded more than technicians who achieved that goal. So it was with Scott and Amundsen, the dead loser admired and remembered, the live winner not appreciated for his great achievement.

This is an excellent "coffee table" book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in Polar exploration, or just wants to read of men striving greatly against almost overwhelming odds.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many books have been written over the years about Scott and Amundsens race to the pole. Yet, like so many of us who are intrigued by this incredible story you somehow never get tired of reading more. In this particular account, the author has done a nice job of comparing the two explorers as to their crews, preparations, planning, interaction with others and personal thoughts and remembrances. In addition he has included many pictures of personnel and artifacts not seen before. The author also gives some good insight into the personalities of the two men. They were so very different in their thoughts, ideas, preparations and dealings with their men. What has always stood out in the past with me is the great knowledge of Amundsen about arctic travel. Once again, this account shows that that knowledge gave him a great edge over Scott. Yet, the personal insight given by the author into Scotts emotions and final thoughts cannot help but make you admire both men. If you love the story of these two men, I highly recommend this book as I am sure it will give you additional insight into this great adventure.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was looking for a solid book to better understand the story of Amundsen and Scott. As this was the lastest book published I thought I would give it a try. I actually did not realize it's a small "coffee table" book (about 9x9) with lots of charts and pictures scattered throughout, and was at first thinking this was going to be a bit of a light, teen book or something. However it's an excellent, very well written book, interesting from start to finish.

I ended up appreciated the pictures, drawing and charts scattered throughout the book. They add insight and in many cases bring you closer to the story and the people involved. This is truly a history lesson and exciting story rolled into one. I really appreciated how balance he was in looking at Scott and Amundsen, not taking sides as many books have. He did state his opinion, but in a very logical, well-thought out way that made you feel he really understood these two men - at least as well anyone could almost 100 years later. He really did his homework.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
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