Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen by David Thomson
Ambition and Tragedy in the Antarctic

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Between the middle of January and the end of March 1912 five men died in the attempt to return from the South Pole to their base on the edge of Antarctica. Their leader, the last to die and the man whose diary described their agonies was Robert Falcon Scott. The expedition had been beaten to the Pole by a band of racing Norwegians, led by Roald Amundsen. The bodies of the last three to die were found seven months later and, ever since, Scott's men have been British heroes. It is that legend, as much as their ordeal that is the subject of this book. Scott's men and the supporting characters, Amundsen and Shackleton, his rivals; Clement Markham, his discoverer; his wife Kathleen—give a fascinating picture of English society before the First World War. The story of the drama becomes also an illustration of human and social character. And, to the extent that Scott is legendary in England, the book tells something about the English and their attitude to duty. "When Thomson writes a book, it is time for celebration."—Booklist " "Thomson is an expert: an expert storyteller, critic, thinker, investigator and observer of the all-too-human landscape."—Steven Bach

About David Thomson

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David Thomson is the author of A Biographical Dictionary of Film and many other books including Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick, Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles, and In Nevada. He lives in San Francisco.
Published June 1, 1977 by Viking. 331 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Science & Math, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

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Scott's ideas of virtue, his rigid adherence to naval protocol, his reluctance to learn from the Norwegians, and his capricious decisions (the worst of which was sending three of his best men on a brutally debilitating trip to collect emperor penguin eggs before attempting the pole), all seem to ...

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