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The Coldest March: Scott's Fatal Antarctic Expedition
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0300099215, Paperback)The icy deaths of Robert Falcon Scott and his companions on their return from the South Pole in 1912 made them English icons of courage and sacrifice. Soon, however, Scott's judgments and decisions were questioned, and his reputation became one of inept bungler rather than heroic pioneer. Susan Solomon, senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Colorado, approaches Scott's story from a meteorologist's point of view. She shows that the three weeks from February 27 to March 19, during which the explorers fell further and further behind the daily distances they had to cover in order to survive, were far colder than normal. Unusual blizzards of wet snow had already slowed the party and depleted their provisions and strength. Without these once-in-a-decade phenomena, Solomon believes the party would have returned to its base on the Ross Sea--second after Roald Amundsen in the race to the Pole, but safely. She opens each chapter with comments from a hypothetical modern visitor to Antarctica, presumably to give a wider context to the human drama of the last century, though this reviewer finds them inappropriate. She enriches her narratives of Scott's two Antarctic expeditions with vintage photographs and tables of meteorological data that highlight the explorers' achievements. Their determination was pitted against the worst weather in the world. Scott's story has been told many times before, but its weather information makes The Coldest March a useful addition to the literature. --John Stevenson
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:01 -0400)
"This book tells the story of Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his British team who in November 1911 began a trek across the snows of Antarctica, striving to be the first to reach the South Pole. After marching and skiing more than nine hundred miles, the men reached the Pole in January 1912, only to suffer the terrible realization that a group of five Norwegians had been there about a month earlier. On their return journey, Scott and his four companions perished, and their legacy - as courageous heroes or tragic incompetents - has been debated ever since.". "Susan Solomon brings a scientific perspective to understanding the men of the expedition, their staggering struggle, and the reasons for their deaths. Drawing on extensive meteorological data and on her own personal knowledge of the Antarctic, she depicts in detail the sights, sounds, legends, and ferocious weather of this singular place. And she reaches the startling conclusion that Scott's polar party was struck down by exceptionally frigid weather - a rare misfortune that thwarted the men's meticulous predictions of what to expect. Solomon describes the many adventures and challenges faced by Scott and his men on their journey, and she also discusses each one's life, contributions, and death. Her poignant and beautifully written book restores them to the place of honor they deserve."--BOOK JACKET.
2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.
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