The Worst Journey in the World

The Worst Journey in the World

  • Paperback

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Product details

  • Paperback | 704 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 40mm | 458.14g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • PIMLICO
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 1844131033
  • 9781844131037
  • 268,273

Review quote

"The Worst Journey in the World goes in and out of print; but it is indestructible, because it is a masterpiece." -- Paul Theroux

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Review Text

No episode in the history of human endeavour reads more harrowingly than Scott's last expedition to Antarctica. Scott reached the South Pole in January 1911 to find Roald Amundsen had beaten him to it; then perished with his companions on the way home. 'Yet, "tragedy"', Apsley Cherry-Garrard was to write a decade later, 'was not our business.' Cherry-Garrard was just 24, the youngest but one of the team when he joined Scott. Left behind for the final leg, in accordance with Scott's original plan for a four-man advance, it fell to Cherry-Garrard eight months later to be a member of the search party which discovered their frozen bodies. The experience permanently damaged his mental health. For the rest of his life he was haunted by the fear that, but for what he perceived as an error of judgement on his part, they might have survived. Yet this book, his story of that and earlier expeditions, is in no way self-indulgent or sensationalist. Despite his name, aristocratic birth and classics degree from Oxford, Cherry-Garrard was no arrogant nobleman. Rather, this not especially robust but intelligent man well understood that polar exploration requires a singular fortitude pushing beyond brute strength to what Ranulph Fiennes was later to term mind over matter. Cherry-Garrard's descriptions of the conditions suffered are rendered all the more diabolical by prose as stark as the landscape traversed. As for hyperbole, the 'Worst Journey' of the title in fact refers to an earlier expedition investigating nesting sites of the Emperor penguin. A work of supreme dimension, this masterpiece remains as compelling today as when it was first published 80 years ago. (Kirkus UK)

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