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The Worst Journey in the World Antarctic 1910-1913 and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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The Worst Journey in the World Paperback – Dec 23 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Empire Books (Dec 23 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1619491877
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619491878
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 862 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #205,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 159 reviews
75 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Thrilling and tragic Jan. 22 2008
By Jordan M. Poss - Published on
Verified Purchase
Apsley Cherry-Garrard was only 24 when he set out on Scott's ill-fated Terra Nova expedition. He was the youngest member of the group and, for my money, the best qualified for the later task of writing the complete story. Why? The Worst Journey in the World is an awe-inspiring adventure, told in such a way that you feel the young man's wide-eyed wonder as your own.

Very few novels have gripped and excited me as this book has, and far fewer nonfiction works. Cherry--as his friends called him--writes with a vigor and attention to detail and drama usually reserved for thrillers. The blizzards, storms at sea, killer whale attacks, sub-zero temperatures, and exhausting struggles with sled dogs, ponies, and yawning crevasses are vividly depicted. By the end of the book, you almost feel as though you've been on the journey with him. The "you are there" phenomenon is something I encounter very seldom in a book. This book actually managed to make me cold.

The Worst Journey in the World is not solely devoted to the adventure and the final tragedy of finding Scott and his men frozen to death. Cherry takes time out to comment on the scientific significance of their work in Antarctica, of the need for exploration regardless of immediate results, and, in conclusion, of why Scott's return from the Pole ended so bitterly. These sections of the work put the adventure into perspective, so that not only do you experience the good and bad times with the expedition, you learn what ideals drove them and what was at stake with every piece of bad luck.

The book isn't perfect, of course. Some of the scientific information Cherry relates is, of course, now outdated. The book starts off rather slowly, and the reader must pick up and remember the names of the other expeditionary members on their own--Cherry does not list or describe the others in detail until somewhere near the middle of the book.

That said, The Worst Journey in the World is still an outstanding nonfiction adventure. Once I started this book I could read nothing else. Anyone with an interest in the Antarctic, history, or exploration in general will find this book fascinating.

Highly recommended.
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
In this case, Worst Journey is no conceit May 3 2008
By Ned K. Wynn - Published on
It's been more than ten years since I read Cherry-Garrard's account of Scott's journey to Antarctica, but I can still feel the lung-searing cold and hear the hellish, monstrous wind coming out of the center of the continent into which the journey was headed. I have never read of anything more terrible than this expedition including Shackleton's truncated Antarctic nightmare and Lewis and Clark's astonishing and dangerous overland haul from St. Louis to the Pacific.

This particular expedition was one terrible misadventure after another almost from the very start when there is a storm at sea right out of the gate as the ship carrying everyone and everything from Tierra del Fuego is swamped and so much food, materiel, and livestock are lost overboard. From there the bad luck never seems to stop. The very fact that these men continued on under circumstances that would have discouraged and then defeated most human beings is almost past credibility. In particular I remember the constant breaking down of the diesel-engined snow cats, the terrible fate of the Asian ponies, the leopard seals, and the long dark impossible trip that Garrard and one other member of the expedition take in the dead of the Antarctic winter to the Emperor Penguin breeding grounds to retrieve a few precious eggs for science. In winter. In the dark. Wearing 1911 woolen clothes, eating preseved 1911 food, and using 1911 (non-)technology. It took 1911 men to do it. I cannot imagine anyone from our time doing this with that equipment. At times I simply had to stop reading and wonder just how much more hardship human beings could stand. I've never felt so physically uncomfortable, so drained and so worried (as a mere reader!) as I was ploughing through this book which was a feat (the writing of it) in itself.

This is a story about a long-vanished era where grit and determination were measured on a different scale from what we see today. An absolute must for any lover of true adventure. It truly was the worst journey in the world against which any subsequent mission of its kind - including extra-terrestrial - must be judged.
60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
The Title Says It All Dec 20 2002
By sweetmolly - Published on
Format: Paperback
Robert Falcon Scott's scientific expedition to the South Pole in 1911 was like that famous medical cliché: "the operation was a success, but the patient died." The Polar Party did reach the South Pole, but were 34 days late from being the FIRST party at the pole. The entire Polar Party died in a blizzard returning to home camp. Invaluable scientific, geographic, and biologic data were obtained, but the hideous Winter Journey to collect Emperor penguin embryos at terrible risk turned out to be useless information. They hoped the embryos would show a connection between the evolution of dinosaurs into birds. (It did not.)
Cherry Gerrard is a highly likeable, very human teller of the tale. He was the youngest member of the expedition, very much the gentleman and an Englishman to his fingertips. He shows us his human side (he didn't have the usual Englishman's fondness for animals and thought the dogs and ponies were miserable, exasperating beasts). He has a knack of bringing his fellow explorers to life, yet never criticizes at all. He has the highest regard for everyone in the party. He recaps from some of the other members' diaries to great effect. The enthusiastic Bowers writes his mother, "There is so much to see and do here; I just wish I could be three places at once!" Bowers was the best of them, to my way of thinking, and I was appalled when he "volunteered" for the Polar Party (already knowing the fate of same). Cherry Gerrard had enormous artistic appreciation for the austere beauties of Antarctica, but no matter how brilliantly he described them, my enthusiasm was nil for such a bleak landscape. He shows his depressive side in remarking on the "beauty of sleep" in the Antarctic---"sleep where you never need awaken." He was tremendously brave and endured what no man should have to bear.
This is the best kind of book for me to read for it sparks my interest to find out more. Cherry Gerrard is so deferential to Captain Scott, some of whose decisions seemed downright odd to me; I am going to read Huntford's "Last Expedition on Earth" that does a critical comparison of Scott and Amundsen. To find out more about the elusive Cherry Gerrard, I shall read Sara Wheeler's "Cherry" plus her "Terra Firma" just because it looks so good. One heroic seaman who should star in his own movie was "Tom Crean: Unsung Hero of the Scott and Shackleton Antarctic Expeditions" by Michael Smith.
My only fault to find with "The Worst Journey--" was a lack of pictures. I would have liked to see the type of clothing they wore (it sounded pitifully inadequate). The constantly referred to "sledges" sometimes pulled by ponies, sometimes by men--I would like to see what they looked like so I had a better idea how they operated. Highly recommend this book for all the right reasons: adventure, information and life changing.
-sweetmolly-Amazon Reviewer
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
"The Worst Journey" indeed June 10 2000
By Susan Paxton - Published on
Format: Paperback
Casual glancers at the title of this book about the 1912 Scott expedition may automatically assume that it refers to the death of Captain Scott and four of his companions on their return from the South Pole. Instead, "The Worst Journey in the World" was the trip to the Emperor Penguin rookeries undertaken in the middle of the Antarctic winter by Cherry-Garrand, Dr. Wilson, and Lt. Bowers, the latter two of whom would die with Scott on the polar trip. It makes absolutely terrifying reading; the men were not equipped or trained for the rigors of the expedition, and the scientific results from their collection of penguin eggs appear to have been absolutely nil (Shackleton fans will be interested to know that Dr. Eric Marshall suggested such a journey during the 1907-1909 Shackleton expedition, but Shackleton thought the idea was cracked and refused to countenance it). Cherry-Garrand is indeed a bit of a ragged writer, but as a non-heroic account of the Scott expedition (compared to Scott's own journals, written with Posterity in mind and "improved" by J.M. Barrie) this book is a valuable addition to the bookshelf of anyone interested in the heroic era of Antarctic exploration.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
An Adventure book Inside a History Book April 6 2006
By Michael J. Muller - Published on
In 1911-1912 the author as a young man was part of the ill fated

Robert Falcon Scott British Expedition to be the "first" at the South Pole. The larger history of that effort's limited success and the stories of the lives lost is a well told as historical fact. Within the book lies the Chapter about the author's effort with two other companions to travel in a winter journey for the purpose of observing Emperor penguins in their nesting rookeries. This is the coldest journey "on record" with howling winds at -70 degrees f under total darkness climbing between open crevasses that were endlessly deep to retrieve a few unhatched eggs for scientific research. Once you've read this author's rendition of that "worst journey" no other adventure travelog can compare. Good reading and most unforgettable.