Top positive review
It would have been twice as good if it were half as long!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 17, 2022
I love the accounts of polar exploration. This nearly 1000 page tome is certainly worth the read. Had it had the benefit of a good editor it would have been worth a full five stars. I must say though the length and rapidity of the text combine to give the reader a better sense of the nature of such an expedition and the mental and physical health required to survive it. There is no doubt a reason they wrote over and over about the northern lights. In the many months long polar night what else could one so consistently look to for inspiration and entertainment. Likewise, in journaling the drift with the ice pack or the sledge slog across the ice pack, it's perfectly understandable this would read as the ultimate ground hog day from hell. (Because it was!) But is was anything but he'll to these explorers. The journal entries are filled with curiosity, gratitude, ingenuity, poetic prose, appreciation. They leave one filled with hope -- including hope that remarkable human beings such as these still exist in our world. Perhaps some who could produce and direct a film that would make this story a better known one. Finally, you may be tempted to give up on this book as it wades slowly through the context for the exploration (pretty much everyone thought the exploration to be a doomed one) and the design and construction of the ship -- but don't give up. If you must, read through those parts quickly. Once they raise the anchor and head north you'll have as difficult a time getting out of the expedition as they did!