The Worst Journey in the World Paperback – Dec 23 2011
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Apsley Cherry-Garrard was born in 1886 and educated at Winchester and Christ Church, Oxford. At twenty-four he was one of the youngest members of Scott's British Antarctic Expedition. He served in the First World War until invalided out of the Navy in 1915, and during his convalescence started to write The Worst Journey in the World. He died in 1959.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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 Some of the scientific information Cherry relates is, of course, now outdated.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.
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.
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.
Look for similar items by category
- Books > History > Australia & Oceania > Polar Regions
- Books > Literature & Fiction > Classics
- Books > Sports & Outdoors > Outdoor Recreation > Boating
- Books > Sports & Outdoors > Outdoor Recreation > Polar Regions
- Books > Sports & Outdoors > Outdoor Recreation > Sailing
- Books > Sports & Outdoors > Water Sports > Boating
- Books > Sports & Outdoors > Water Sports > Sailing
- Books > Sports & Outdoors > Winter Sports > Polar Regions
- Books > Travel > Polar Regions > Antarctica