Race for the South Pole: The Expedition Diaries of Scott and Amundsen Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
For the first time ever Roland Huntford presents each man's account of the race to the South Pole in their own words. In 1910, Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen set sail for Antarctica, each from his own starting point, and the epic race for the South Pole was on. 2010 marks the centenary of the last great race of terrestrial discovery. For the first time Scott's unedited diary entries run alongside those of Amundsen and Bjaaland, never before translated into English. Cutting through the welter of controversy, with the polar journey at the heart of the story Huntford weaves a narrative from the protagonists' explanations of their own fate. What emerges is a whole new understanding of what really happened on the ice.
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|Listening Length||14 hours and 38 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||May 12, 2014|
|Publisher||Audible Studios for Bloomsbury|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #38,048 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#6 in Arctic & Antarctic History
#41 in Arctic & Antarctica History
#48 in Expeditions & Discoveries
Top reviews from the United States
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This is a personality revealing book as well as for logistics. For those interested in logistics, all latitude/longitude,
temperatures, nautical miles, etc. are covered on a day to day basis. For those interested in personalities, have at it.
Just read the expedition diaries alone, and you can decide for yourself.
I'll not cover the specifics in this review, let it suffice that there are some formidable players in both parties. The diaries for each day and for each man are side by side.
If you have accumulated a small library on the discovery of the South Pole, this book will answer many questions and ensure
a solid knowledge about specific characters, time line of events, and of events on a day to day basis. Each depot, location, contents, many useful maps of different scales, illustrations and dozens of photograghs are also here.
For the casual reader on this subject, possibly for the first time, a clear chronological story will evolve full of facts and curiously intricate characters. In their own words, ofcoarse.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in Italy 🇮🇹 on February 22, 2017
The author of 'Race to the South Pole', Roland Huntford is an accomplished researcher and writer on all things polar and has written what I regard as outstanding and authoritative biographies of Nansen and Shackleton. He is also the man who in 1979 published 'Scott and Amundsen', which virtually for the first time questioned received wisdom on the virtue of Scott as an explorer and sought to boost the merits of his rival Amundsen, who Huntford considered had been under-rated by history. In so doing, Huntford opened a can of worms, with protagonists of the Scott and Amundsen camps battling the issues out. Some accept all the arguments which Huntford promulgated to denigrate Scott. Others such as Sir Ranulph Fiennes have come to Scott's aid and refuted many of his assertions. Now 30 years after his original publication, Huntford repeats his argument.
I admire both Scott and Amundsen, as well as many other heroic explorers who first ventured into the unbelievably hostile environments of the North and South Poles a century ago. Having read much on the subject, I have also come to believe that Huntford made some telling points in his criticism of Scott, which have not been satisfactorily countered, and I also believe that Amundsen deserves most of the plaudits now heaped upon him - by any account he was an outstanding human being.
But, but, but - I take issue with Huntford. What does his book 'Race for the South Pole' consist of? Basically - 4 elements. Firstly the latter part of the Scott's diary of his Terra Nova expedition; secondly his own translation of the diary of Amundsen; thirdly his new translation of the diary of Bjaaland - one of the 4 who accompanied Amundsen to the South Pole, and fourthly, Huntford's own interpolations. What he omits are any of the accounts of those who accompanied Scott (Lt.Evans, Cherry-Garrard etc.) What is novel is that he places the diary accounts together on a daily basis, so that on any one day one can see what is happening in the two respective camps. Personnally, I gained very little from this. I have read Scott's diary before - several times. (see my review). I have read Amundsen's account (The South Pole) - though not his diary (see my review). Setting the two side by side, I felt, added nothing. Scott and Amundsen never met. Each day they were many miles apart. Weather and ground conditions were totally different. Bjaaland's diary, being new, was interesting and revealed much of Bjaaland, but added little to my understanding of Amundsen or Scott.
But what was so annoying was Huntford's commentary. For it was punctuated repeatedly by a biased denigration of Scott - a belittling which I think even Amundsen, whom he rightly praises, might have taken exception to.
As already stated, Huntford has, in my view, some telling points to make, but constant unrelenting sniping does not do his argument any favours and brings into question his integrity in putting forward a fair case based on the evidence. Even the language he uses betrays his prejudice. (p63. "Scott also demonstrates his mania for interference...." - p77 "Scott's lack of 'care and foresight' was his own fault." - p99 "Scott had lost the race before he began." - p111 "...Scott was recording one of his violent mood changes to depression ..." - p161 "Scott resents the weather as if there is some special kind to which he is entitled." - p 176 "(Scott) exposes the masochistic cruelty of man-hauling, and the Dionysian side of his personality ..." - p187 "Scott's every action now seems futile." etc. etc.
Huntford however saves his ultimate vemom for a vitriolic epilogue in which he repeats ad nauseam his obsessional hatred of Scott. He even dismisses the works of 2 who accompanied Scott. Ponting's wonderful photographs published in 1921 in 'The Great White South' he describes as 'artless propaganda' and Cherry-Garrard's majestic 'The Worst Journey in the World', published in 1922 as 'immature but persuasive, highly charged apologia'.
I have to say, that by the time I had finished reading the book, I had even more respect for Scott than before, given the one-sided character assassination delivered by Huntford. Given the soundness of much of his argument and his other work, I cannot understand why he feels it so necessary to repeatedly and obsessively overstate his case against Scott, and in such a vicious manner. A great pity.