Imatge de l'autor
13+ obres 1,380 Membres 27 Ressenyes 2 preferits

Sobre l'autor

Roland Huntford is the world's foremost authority on the polar expeditions and their protagonists. The biographer of Shackleton and Nansen, his other books include Scott and Amundsen: The Last Place on Earth. He was the Scandinavian correspondent on The Observer for many years.

Inclou aquests noms: Roland Huntford, Roland Huntford

Crèdit de la imatge: Eamonn McCabe

Obres de Roland Huntford

Obres associades

Farthest North (1897) — Introducció, algunes edicions401 exemplars


Coneixement comú

Nom normalitzat
Huntford, Roland
Altres noms
Horwitch, Roland (birth name)
Data de naixement
Lloc de naixement
Cape Town, South Africa
Llocs de residència
Cambridge, England, UK



One of the better books I have read. I didn’t know much about polar exploration before and this book wowed me in the sense of how intense polar exploration was. I also liked it bc it gave me a Norwegian hero/idol to look up to.
MorganBrandso | Hi ha 15 ressenyes més | Dec 23, 2023 |
The story of the race to the South Pole by Scott (who eventually died) and Amundsen (who was first). Contains many lessons for life, management and business. The role of preparation, the need for a margin of safety and much more. I've listened to the audio version. Highly recommended
remouherek | Hi ha 15 ressenyes més | Feb 24, 2020 |
One of my favorite genres is non-fiction, exploration accounts. From Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage (Lewis and Clark) to Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Alan Morehead’s White Nile and Blue Nile, accounts of the travails faced by explorers have always fascinated me.

One subset of this genre is polar exploration. I’ve read several works whose subject was the Northwest Passage and the Franklin Expedition. I’ve read of the journeys of Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance. This book focuses on the race to the South Pole, and the two protagonists who participated in that race, Norwegian Roald Amundsen and Englishman Robert Falcon Scott.

Both of these explorers had spent time in the south polar region before setting their sights on a 1911 expedition whose aim was to be first to the pole, with national pride on the line. History reveals that Amundsen was the victor and Scott has been mythologized as the hard luck loser, who, along with four companions died on the return trip after reaching the pole five weeks after Amundsen.

This book, when first published in 1979 blew the Scott mythology to smithereens and was greeted with great outrage in Britain. Scott’s expedition was converted from a star-crossed, superhuman and heroic effort, to a completely bungled, poorly planned and even more poorly executed travesty, led by a man wholly unsuited for the task.

The author closely examines both expedition leaders, along with the steps taken to prepare for and execute the many steps necessary to successfully accomplish the task of reaching the pole. In each instance, Amundsen was tireless and laser focused on the research and implementation, whereas Scott was negligent and seemingly uninterested, even many times categorically wrong in his assessments (such as the idea that dogs could not perform under Arctic conditions and that skis were a hindrance rather than a benefit).

In fact, it is difficult to believe that Amundsen was the absolutely perfect expedition leader painted by the author, while Scott was a bumbling idiot, making the wrong decision and painfully obvious errors, every single time his leadership skills were needed. It is almost as if the author had an agenda to elevate Amundsen and denigrate Scott and took every opportunity to do so.

Certainly, it cannot be argued that Amundsen reached and returned from the pole first, whereas Scott and his companions died in the effort. However, hindsight is 20/20 and many of the methods utilized by Scott were state of the art for the period. Amundsen incorporated many new and revolutionary methods in his expedition and proved to be correct. He was rewarded with success, at a relatively modest cost. That does not, however, mean that Scott was necessarily an utter fool. He was not exceptional, whereas Amundsen was. Scott was a man of his time and behaved as such. Perhaps he was even not up to the standards of his countryman, Ernest Shackleton, but it is worth noting that Scott at least reached the pole, whereas Shackleton did not. There is certainly an easily recognized difference in the philosophy of the Norwegians, who were almost clinical in their analysis of how to achieve the ultimate goal as efficiently as possible, and the Englishmen, in whose mind the method of attaining the goal was of equal importance (no pain, no glory).

Maybe Scott was every bit as bad as painted by the author. Or perhaps the author knew that a contrarian viewpoint, trashing a heretofore national hero, would generate the kind of interest and notoriety needed to gain interest for his work. In any event, the account of both expeditions was fascinating and well presented with a number of very helpful maps. I can highly recommend this book for anyone that enjoys history in general and accounts of exploration in particular.
… (més)
santhony | Hi ha 15 ressenyes més | Jul 31, 2019 |



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