Title: The Worst Journey in the World
Author: Apsley Cherry-Garrard
Source: ebook through Project Gutenberg
Tl;dr: When you like to read slow, descriptive non-fiction without any real plot, but with emotions, this is a good book for you.
If you ever find yourself at some place cold (like many people in the US at this moment), read The Worst Journey in the World, and you start feeling much warmer all of a sudden, compared to the cold and horrible time these men went through, on their three year stay in the Antarctic.
I read this book in two stages. The first 40% halfway last year, and the last 60% in the last 2 week’s. This was mostly due to the endless repeating of days: sledging, cold, camping, cold, problems with dogs/horses, snow, cold. Of course, the book consists mostly of diaries from the author and some parts of the diaries of his companions, but it mad the book a slow read for me. Maybe this was caused by my 6-month-break, but I also found the story utterly confusing at times. Why do they keep travelling back and forth between certain points? Why are there so many different groups of men? How do they know certain things about other groups? These questions were less apparent in the last few chapters, which talked about the end of the Polar journey, which ends with Scott’s death. There the diary excerpts were used as illustrations, instead of the main body of work. The context given, made the whole narrative much more clear. If the whole book would have been more like this, I would have enjoyed it more.
What I did really like were the descriptions of the love of science of the Polar travellers, of the comradery, of how they took care of their animals. The last part of the book really touched me, which spoke about how they found Scott and his fellow discoverers. Even when you know from the start this is how it ends, the respectful way it is written about makes you feel quiet and mournful.