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Showing 1-10 of 14 reviews(3 star). See all 213 reviews
on September 27, 2017
Interesting but tedious reading
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on August 18, 2013
Rather dry, but I'll finish it. No less than I expected...Some of our future were in the hands of these people..
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on May 24, 2013
The original book had extensive illustrations but this digital version does not seem to include any, pretty disappointing as they significantly enhance the original book.
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on December 18, 2013
I am reading this in preparation for a trip to Antarctica and I am sure my journey will be much better than Scott's! To me, the descriptions of the equipment, supplies, and procedures used in 1910 are the most interesting parts of this book. I am hoping that the advances we have made in the last century will make this vacation easier for soft 2014 tourists!
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on August 28, 2014
This review refers to the Hardback Picador Travel Classics 1994 edition.

Apsley Cherry-Garrard's book is a tours de force, a classic of exploration and endurance. Having read it on Kindle I was desperate to obtain a hard back edition with the illustrations of the original (these are missing in my Kindle edition and it does make some aspects of the story hard to follow). Original period editions are a shocking price, so I was looking for the next best thing. Having read reviews on Amazon, one of which referred to the maps in this edition I went ahead and bought it. Well, the good news is that this edition is a very handy size to take away and read on a trip, and it's cheap. The bad news is that it contains not one single illustration. No maps, no photographs, no sketches, nothing. I find this very surprising for a hardback, and, well, I already had the equivalent on Kindle.

Since then I've gone and bought the Benediction Classics 2007 Hardback edition. It contains all the illustrations of the original two volumes, and though some are rather small, I'm happy when I compare the price to an original. Unfortunately, unlike this edition it has been reviewed only once, and then by someone who describes themselves as "not a great reader". It has been, in my opinion, terribly under-rated.

In short, if you want a reasonably priced hard back copy of a classic, don't get this, get the Benediction Classics.
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on May 31, 2016
The trials these exporers went through are astounding, and it is a wonder that more of them didn't die. That said, the writing is bone dry, and I would much rather read an edited account of the expedition than wade through the minutiae presented in this book. There is original footage of the expedition on youtube which is fascinating.
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on August 5, 2013
I had read other books on the expedition (Scott's last to the South Pole) and even though this one was written by a member of the expedition, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, I found it to be very tedious to read. The style of writing at that time (early 1900s in proper English), is the main reason. Also, it is 537 pages of fairly small print. Cherry-Garrard wrote this book from the diary he kept and it includes a tremendous amount of detail. Probably more than I cared to know about. The pace is just very slow. I am not a great reader and so I need a book that covers the salient points without belaboring it, to keep my interest. Race to the End by MacPhee is the book to get if you want a fast read that is very well done.
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on November 30, 2010
Cherry's 1912 classic adventure memoir combines and edits several other surviving diaries and does a wonderful job detailing Scott's ill fated South Pole Terra Nova Expedition. A long line of excellent reviews have already detailed this epic adventure and tragedy... So, I'll skip a formal review and just outline a few of my own observations.

Cherry spent months attempting to traverse Antarctica in a perpetual sunless winter. Striking out in pitch black, often in snow storms, he tells of the countless times he and or members of his party (and dog teams) fell blindly into invisible crevasses. The potential disaster is mentioned so often, that the reader becomes numb to the incredible terror that this must trigger, not to mention the physical exhaustion of pulling, dragging and picking your way back to apparent safety. Cherry must have recognized the redundancy, so in the middle of his book he goes into detail about the wild free fall, the back-breaking lurch at the end of the tethered harness and the exhausting recovery. Back at camp the danger would be dismissed with typical 1912 British bravado -- after each near tragedy, their comradeship would skyrocket.

My only real criticism (beyond the book's heft) is Cherry's whitewashing and glory-writing while describing his teammates. No group of men, thrown into desperate circumstances are THAT good together! I blame three circumstances on Cherry's hero worship; one, their close dependency on each other; two, Cherry's impressionable age (he was only 20); and three, he knew his diary was likely his legacy. He gets away with this near fatal flaw because his story does not need a antagonist. The natural villain is not a person, it's Mother Nature and she's a real killer.

Other wild subplots include a crazy month long death march to capture Emperor Penguin eggs (really!?... 4 guys, for weeks, in a -70º hurricane, for eggs!?... really!). Within that side story, Cherry chillingly describes his own temporary resolve to die.

He also personally survives a team of crazy sperm whales working in unison to crack and then explode through the ice fields in an effort to snatch their running dog team from the solid ice shelf.

A long story has some stretch room for nuance. As a fine example, Cherry takes his time describing the beauty and oddity of such a sparse landscape. He details the crazy tricks in perspective caused by the absence of landmarks on such a grand scale. In his telling, one day he marched toward a strange shadowed mound on a distant horizon only to arrive at a discarded wrapper some 100 yards away. He didn't discover and adjust his error in perspective until he was within a couple feet. That has to freak you out a bit!

Overall, very well done! However, modern readers beware; Cherry's turn of the century British verse is both charming and stiff. And this is a big book!
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on October 27, 2003
Perhaps the worst journey in the world is to sit and read every word of this book. Okay, I just made a horrible joke, but in all honesty I get the feeling that 200 pages could have been chopped off of this book. I have no problem reading "thick" books, as I read this one in 4 sittings. I now question whether I'm better off for having done so. Honestly, if I could go back in time, I probably wouldn't read it knowing what I know now, however I do feel better off having read it. (I know, total oxymoron)
There are some brilliant passages and descriptions buried here and there. When the author is in form, it truly is captivating reading. I can feel how cold these people were. I can see the horrible conditions they live under and when he speaks of weather conditions getting better because it was ONLY -30 instead of -70, you really can empathize with the madness.
The problem is there is so much prose around these poignant moments that by the time you reach them you are still in speed reading mode. I had to go back and re-read some of the better moments of the book because it didn't hit me at the first pass that this was "the good part." For instance, the whole jumping from ice berg to ice berg with Killer whales licking their chops is compelling stuff, but it is handled so lightly. The different ways to cook a biscuit got better press. Same with the journey that is in fact his "worst journey in the world" to retrieve Emperor penguin eggs. He spent 90% on the set up, but then when it got to the conflict and climax (losing the tent, hurricane winds, running out of oil) this was quickly glanced over and summarized in a few pages.
Not only the page count, but the wording is tough going. Is it just me, or was everyone's journal and diary entries more stylized than the next. It was like this guy was on an expedition with Shakespeare, Tennyson and Milton. And I don't understand the technique to spend pages setting up an event and then using a journal entry or two to restate (sometimes almost to the word) what was just written.
I really, really wanted to like this book. I do to a certain extent and call me crazy, but I'll go back and re-read it, now knowing where to find those choice moments. However, I cannot recommend this to a new reader. Simply put, your time is better spent elsewhere. This is a hell of a story however, and it is mostly for that reason it gets 3 stars. I would probably give it 3.5 stars in all honesty. If you are truly fascinated in this genre or this particular subject, I suppose you should add it to your wish list as you do get the "whole story." The problem is, sometimes the whole story isn't worth telling in its entireity.
p.s. 90 Degrees South is a must purchase DVD to accompany this book. Get most of the visuals with this fabulous film shot by one of the crew members
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on September 7, 2017
While it truly is a great adventure book, it does seem to drag and get a bit boring far too often. It is a very slow read, but certainly something worth checking out if the subject is of interest to you.
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