The Coldest March : Scott's Fatal Antarctic Expedition Paperback
"These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale." So penned Captain Robert Falcon Scott in 1912 as he confronted defeat and death in the crippling subzero temperatures of Antarctica.
In this riveting book, Susan Solomon finishes the interrupted tale of Scott and his British expedition, depicting the staggering 900-mile trek to the South Pole and resolving the debate over the journey's failure. "An absorbing, fascinating read ...a book that will appeal to the explorer in everyone."--Sally Ride "Solomon argues her case well, in exact and graceful prose."--Dennis Drabelle, Washington Post Book World "Persuasive...[Solomon] reaches important new conclusions about Scott's expedition."--Sara Wheeler, New York Times Book Review "Brilliant...A marvelous and complex book: at once a detective story, a brilliant vindication of a maligned man, and an elegy both for Scott and his men and for the 'crystalline continent' on which they died."--Robert MacFarlane, Guardian "Solomon has crafted a smart, terrific book and an important addition to polar history."--Roberta MacInnis, Houston Chronicle
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 416 pages, 77 illustrations
- Publisher: Yale University Press
- Publication Date: 03/01/2003
- Category: Biography: historical, political & military
- ISBN: 9780300099218
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Review by timjones
A fascinating but not entirely convincing history of Scott's polar expeditions, and in particular his attempt at the South Pole in 1911-12 which led to the death of all five members of the Polar Party.Scott has ben viewed as everything from a tragic hero to a inexcusably ill-organised bungler. Using modern meteorological evidence, Dr Solomon makes a strong case that the deaths of at least four of these five men were due to factors beyond Scott's control, and in particular the unseasonably cold weather (even by Antarctic standards) that his party encountered during the final stages of their return in March 2009. Yet she raises enough examples of Scott's impulsiveness and his tendency to operate at or over the margin of safety to suggest that this gallant but inexperienced leader's flaws played a major part in his and his companions' fate.Despite these reservations, this book is well worth reading if you are interested in polar science or exploration, or in the thin line that divides success from failure when operating in extreme conditions.