Review Blog

May 28 2019

Amundsen's way: the race to the South Pole by Joanna Grochowicz

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Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN 9781760637668.
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Scott's tragic journey to the South Pole is well known but the victorious great adventure of his competitor, Roald Amundsen is hardly known. Joanna Grochowicz puts paid to that with her thrilling description of the wily, uncompromising Norwegian leader and his devoted crew members, fighting against blizzards, cold, hunger, fatigue and terrifying crevasses. It seems that every step towards the goal of being first to reach the South Pole was fraught with danger. It was Amundsen's knowledge, leadership and courage that got everyone through safely.
There are vivid descriptions of the barriers created by the landscape as the expedition pushes deep into the unknown interior, flashbacks to earlier formative expeditions and wonderful accounts of the dogs, how they were used and their faithful service. Also, the mental and physical stress of the men and how they coped, helps build interest and tension in the story.
The fictional narrative of the book is based on thorough research and would suit adolescent readers. It has 299 pages, 52 short chapters and includes maps, drawings and photographs.
Paul Pledger

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