Review Blog

Nov 16 2011

No return : Captain Scott's race to the pole by Peter Gouldthorpe

cover image

Lothian, 2011.
(Ages: 9+) Warmly recommended. Non Fiction. History. The story of Captain Scott and his journey through the Antarctic to be the first to reach the South Pole makes fascinating reading as beset by all sorts of problems, the small group perished, making their names synonymous with heroism and courage in exploration. Gouldthorpe has written an excellent overview of the man himself, lured to this part of the world by previous explorations and then wanting to be the first to reach the South Pole, on hearing of a Norwegian expedition setting out as well in 1909.
The voyage from England to Melbourne, then the treacherous voyage across the Southern Ocean to Cape Evans in Force 10 gales, made them even more determined. They arrived with three motor sleds, one of which sank into the ice almost immediately, while one of the 59 men was almost lost to a pod of killer whales when he inadvertantly hopped across ice flows coming to a dead end. The men built a hut and stored their provision to wait out the Antarctic winter before attempting the walk to the pole in spring. The awful tale of the trip follows, with the main group dying trying to return after finding that the Norwegian team had arrived before them.
Two detailed maps are included and the illustrations give a bitingly cold feel to the story, as we see the men and their horses and huskies with all their equipment, trudge off. This is an amazing story told with sufficient detail and superb illustrations to make it available to a wide audience.
Fran Knight

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