This is a very well balanced and meticulously researched book. It shows beyond doubt how false and shallow have been the many malicious and blinkered books and lms in their bland condemnation of Captain Scott as a bumbler and inept leader. Quite the opposite was actually true, and The Coldest March goes a long way to putting polar history right ...Read MoreThis is a very well balanced and meticulously researched book. It shows beyond doubt how false and shallow have been the many malicious and blinkered books and lms in their bland condemnation of Captain Scott as a bumbler and inept leader. Quite the opposite was actually true, and The Coldest March goes a long way to putting polar history right and thereby to killing off the vicious myth about one of Britain's great explorers. -Sir Ranulph Fiennes 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. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale. -Robert Falcon Scott, written after travelling for weeks in daily temperatures below -35 F. The Coldest March tells the tragic story of Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his British team who in November 1911 began a trek across the snows of Antarctica, striving to be the rst to reach the South Pole. After marching and skiing more than nine hundred miles, the men reached the Pole in January 1912, only to suffer the terrible realisation that a group of ve Norwegians had been there about a month earlier. Scott and his four companions died on the return journey. Whether they were courageous heroes or tragic incompetents has been debated ever since. Susan Solomon brings a scienti c perspective to her understanding of the men of the expedition, their agonising struggle, and the reasons for their deaths. Drawing on extensive meteorological data and on her personal knowledge of the Antarctic, she depicts in detail the sights, sounds, legends and ferocious weather of that singular place. She reaches the startling conclusion that the polar party was struck down by exceptionally frigid weather-a rare misfortune that confounded the men's meticulous predictions of what to expect. This poignant and beautifully written book restores Scott and his men to the place of honour they deserve.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2001-08-13 British explorer Robert Scott's legacy has been debated since his ill-fated 1911 expedition. Initially pegged a hero, he's subsequently been maligned as a bumbler who lost the race to the South Pole and died, with four companions, because of his mistakes. Solomon, a senior scientist at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, attempts to restore Scott's reputation, arguing that unnaturally cold weather (weeks of -35 F.), not poor judgment, caused the captain's demise. She traces the polar expedition (Scott's second) using modern scientific evidence and the explorers' diaries. In clear, well-paced prose, Solomon paints characters and landscape deftly and delivers well-conceived arguments. But the book is not without flaws. Each chapter has a forced, heavy-handed though sometimes amusing introduction featuring a fictional visitor to contemporary Antarctica. And while Solomon's arguments are plausible, they are not ironclad. To her contention that Scott's plans didn't work because of extreme weather, one might answer that he should have planned for any possible situation; his Norwegian rivals, for instance, took more than enough provisions. Still, whatever opinion readers have of Scott when they start the book, by the end he will have risen in their esteem. Solomon's exhaustive research provides readers with enough information to form their own opinion. B&w photos and illus. (Sept. 10) Forecast: This book should be popular among exploration buffs because of its new scientific information. The book could get lost among the many polar adventure tales, though Solomon's fluid, accessible writing, her five-city tour and events at the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian may distinguish it from the crowd. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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