A First Rate Tragedy

by Diana Preston
Category: "Travel"
Year of Publication:1997
Date Added:07/10/2003
Date Read:03/03/2003
Notes:Subtitle: Robert Falcon Scott and the Race to the South Pole

"Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman." So reads Captain Robert Falcon Scott's message from the grave, found in a tent with his frozen corpse and the bodies of two fellow explorers, after his expedition had lost the race to the South Pole. Disheartened by their defeat at the hands of the Norwegian Roald Amundsen, the British team struggled on their return trip, succumbing to the Antarctic elements only 11 miles from the fuel and food that might have saved them. Scott was the most revered of the major Antarctic explorers of his day: Amundsen may have personified professionalism, and Shackleton, endurance; but Scott — perhaps only by dying — represented the courage and heroism that an insecure, prewar Britain craved. Drawing on the poetic writings of the explorers themselves, Preston (The Road to Culloden Moor) illuminates Scott's occasional bad luck, inexperience and even ineptitude without diminishing his unquestionable courage, honor and humanity. Indeed, it is Preston's balanced look at Scott's life and its context that sets this book apart from the many other works on the subject.
My Rating: 8

Reviews for A First Rate Tragedy

Review - A First Rate Tragedy

Around this time, I was desperately attempting to create some enthusiasm for Carpe Libra. I came up with an idea for a Beyond 500 list. The deal was that only club members who had completed the Carp 500 (Jim Matheson, Linda and me) could add books to this list. It was supposed to be reserved for books that we thought were of Carp 500 quality. This was one of the books Jim added.
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