Scott's last Antarctic expedition is one of the great adventure stories of the twentieth century. On 1 November 1911, a British team set out on the gruelling 800-mile journey across the coldest and highest continent on Earth to travel to the South Pole. Five men battled through unimaginably harsh conditions only to find the Norwegian flag had been ...
Scott's last Antarctic expedition is one of the great adventure stories of the twentieth century. On 1 November 1911, a British team set out on the gruelling 800-mile journey across the coldest and highest continent on Earth to travel to the South Pole. Five men battled through unimaginably harsh conditions only to find the Norwegian flag had been planted at the Pole just weeks before. Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Lieutenant Henry Bowers, Petty Officer Edgar Evans, Captain Lawrence Oates, and Dr Edward Wilson all died on the return trek, starved and frozen to death, only eleven miles from a supply camp. In November 1912, a rescue party discovered their last letters and diaries, which told a story of bravery, hardship, and self-sacrifice that shocked the world. Recent decades have seen controversy rage over whether Scott was the last of a line of great Victorian explorers, intent on discovering uncharted lands, or a hopeless incompetent driven by personal ambition. Rejecting the stereotypes, Max Jones reveals a complex figure, a product of the passions and preoccupations of an imperial age. He also shows how heroes are made and manipulated, through a close examination of the unprecedented outpouring of public grief at the news of the death of Scott and his companions. Max Jones uses fascinating new evidence and prevously unseen illustrations to take us back to this remarkable moment in modern history, and tells for the first time the full story of The Last Great Quest.
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-09-15 In an earnest attempt to add a compelling new dimension to the story of Capt. Robert F. Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole in 1911, Jones, a University of Manchester lecturer, instead becomes bogged down in miscellany. Scott and his team's deaths on the frigid Antarctic expanse as they made the 800-mile journey back to their ship after discovering they'd been beaten to the Pole by Roald Amundsen almost a month earlier has proven rich book fodder over the last 92 years. Jones eschews straight biography or adventure narrative to provide what he sees as a needed cultural context for Scott's voyage and its aftermath. He writes, "The legendary figures who first ventured into the unknown remain impenetrable, unless we apprehend the world which made them." To recreate that world, Jones begins with a detailed history of the establishment of the Royal Geographic Society, sponsor of many of the great British explorers, and concludes with an examination of British heroes in the first part of the 20th century, connecting Scott to Dr. Livingstone and Robert Peary. In between, the book makes thorough examinations of such disparate and seemingly irrelevant topics as the raising of money for and the erection of monuments to Scott and his party, and the fierce public debate over the admission of women to the RGS. The result, unfortunately, is a jumble. Jones has done some admirable research of primary sources, but he lacks the organizational acuity to make this a convincing book. 60 photos not seen by PW. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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