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A richly illuminating biography of Robert Falcon Scott, and the first to transcend the myths that have taken root in the story of his life.
Since Scott’s death in 1912, he has been the subject of innumerable books—some declaring him a hero, others dismissing him as an irresponsible fool. But in all the pages that have been written about him, the man behind the legend has been forgotten or distorted beyond all recognition. Now, with full access to all family papers and to the voluminous diaries and records of key participants in the Antarctic expeditions, and with the inclusion in the book of excerpts from Scott’s own letters and diaries, David Crane gives us a portrait of the explorer that is more nuanced and balanced than any we have had before. In reassessing Scott’s life, Crane is able to provide a fresh perspective on both the Discovery expedition of 1901–04 and the Terra Nova expedition of 1910–13, making clear that although Scott’s dramatic journeys are the most compelling parts of his story, they are only part of a larger narrative that includes remarkable scientific achievement and the challenges of a tumultuous private life.
Scott’s own voice echoes through the pages. His descriptions of the monumental landscape of Antarctica and its fatal and icy beauty are breathtaking. And his honest, heartfelt letters and diaries give the reader an unforgettable account of the challenges he faced both in his personal life and as a superlative leader of men in possibly the world’s harshest environment.
The result is an absolutely convincing portrait of a complicated hero.