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The Worst Journey in the World Paperback – Dec 23 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Lightning Source Inc (Dec 23 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1619491877
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619491878
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 699 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #157,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

As Apsley Cherry-Garrard states in his introduction to the harrowing story of the Scott expedition to the South Pole, "Polar Exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised." Cherry-Garrard's The Worst Journey in the World is a gripping account of an expedition gone disastrously wrong. The youngest member of Scott's team, the author was later part of the rescue party that eventually found the frozen bodies of Scott and three men who had accompanied Scott on the final push to the Pole. These deaths would haunt Cherry-Garrard for the rest of his life as he questioned the decisions he had made and the actions he had taken in the days leading up to the Polar Party's demise.

Prior to this sad denouement, Cherry-Garrard's account is filled with details of scientific discovery and anecdotes of human resilience in a harsh environment. Each participant in the Scott expedition is brought fully to life. Cherry-Garrard's recollections are supported by diary excerpts and accounts from other teammates. Despite the sad fate of Scott, the reader will grudgingly agree with the closing words of The Worst Journey in the World: "Exploration is the physical expression of the Intellectual Passion. And I tell you, if you have the desire for knowledge and the power to give it physical expression, go out and explore.... If you march your Winter Journeys you will have your reward, so long as all you want is a penguin's egg." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Cherry-Gerrard was the only survivor of Scott's last journey to the South Pole, and was a member of the search party that later discovered the remains of Scott and his comrades. His story was originally published in a limited edition in the 1920s but has not been available in the United States since.-- MR
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 140 reviews
64 of 64 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.
57 of 60 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
22 of 22 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.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A Worse Time Than An Emperor Penguin Feb. 18 2003
By doomsdayer520 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In the first paragraph of Apsley Cherry-Garrard's introduction to this book, he starts his tale of Antarctic travails with the droll line, "I do not believe anybody on Earth has a worse time than an Emperor penguin." This displays his very modest and understated tale of what was really the worst journey in the world. This book deserves its reputation as an adventure classic, as Cherry-Garrard outlines the disastrous expedition for the South Pole by Captain R.F. Scott in 1913, in which the author was a young expedition member. This book certainly has its share of great adventure narratives and tales of hardship as experienced by the early explorers, including many falls into crevasses, continuous deadly weather, and near-madness brought on by the midnight sun or snowblindness. There are some unexpectedly interesting tales from before the actual expedition as well, as the author describes the voyage by ship to Antarctica with the trouble of having ponies and sled dogs on board, while the ship got trapped in pack ice for weeks.
This book can be a tough read however, because Cherry-Garrard was a rather tedious writer. Note that the book was written in 1922 and styles were different back then, while the author admits that he meant to create a field guide for future explorers and not armchair adventurers, like most of us are today. However, this doesn't alleviate some of the writing difficulties. About a third of the time the author's style is very conversational and light-hearted, especially when he is praising his teammates in the expedition and describing their personal interactions. Otherwise though, the book often gets stuck in extremely verbose technical explanations of provisions and logistics. An example is an episode early in the book when the author, a few colleagues, and their horses were trapped on shore ice that was breaking up, and they had to jump the horses and themselves from floe to floe, over stretches of frigid water, all the while being observed ominously by a troop of killer whales. The author describes this harrowing episode with such clinical, detached understatement that all the obvious horror and heroism are ironed out. This problem is alleviated in the later stages of the book, as Cherry-Garrard describes the tragic death of Captain Scott and other team members in the doomed return trip from the South Pole. Plus, the final chapter is very moving as the author philosophizes on the loss of his comrades and the ethics of such dangerous exploration, with an eloquent sense of survivor's guilt. So while some portions become a tedious technical manual rather than a tale of heroism and exploration, this classic book is still a very worthy read for adventure fans.
23 of 24 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.