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Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard
by Sara Wheeler
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375754547, Paperback)Sara Wheeler, author of the acclaimed Terra Incognita, became fascinated with Antarctic explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard after reading The Worst Journey in the World, his classic account of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's doomed expedition to the South Pole, of which he was a survivor. "His book was not the disembodied account of an expedition: it was an intimate reflection of the man behind the authorial mask. I wanted a glimpse of that man," she writes. What she offers is much more than a glimpse; Cherry is a fascinating and detailed look at this complicated and often troubled hero.
A man of substantial means and a strong sense of duty, Cherry "recoiled from the sedate life of the country squire," throwing himself into strenuous adventures whenever he was not crippled by episodes of severe depression which haunted him his entire life. After returning from the pole, he traveled to eastern China as part of a zoological expedition and then served Britain in World War I before writing The Worst Journey in the World, which National Geographic has called the greatest adventure book of all time. Wheeler covers not only his many adventures, but the inner workings of the man, such as his bouts with mental illness, including delusional phases, hypochondria, and severe anxiety, all of which affected his physical health as well. She also covers his often complex relationships, including his close friendship with George Bernard Shaw, who certainly influenced Cherry's writing. Written with the cooperation of Cherry's widow and full access to his papers and notes, this is the first authorized biography of this extraordinary man. --Shawn Carkonen
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:59 -0400)
"Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1886-1959) was one of the youngest members of Captain Scott's final expedition to the Antarctic. Despite appalling short sight Cherry undertook an epic journey in the Antarctic winter to collect the eggs of the Emperor penguin. The temperature fell to seventy below, it was dark all the time, his teeth shattered in the cold and the tent blew away. 'But we kept our tempers,' Cherry wrote, 'even with God. After serving in the First World War Cherry was invalided home, and with the zealous encouragement of his neighbour Bernard Shaw he wrote a masterpiece. The Worst Journey in the World frees Scott's story from the shackles of its period and ushers it into the immortal zone. Since first publication in 1922 the bitter brilliance and elegiac melancholy of Cherry's prose has touched the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers. In his work Cherry transformed tragedy and grief into something fine. But he was to find that life is more complicated than literature, and as the years unravelled he faced a terrible struggle against depression, breakdown and despair, haunted by the possibility that he could have saved Scott and his companions. This is the first biography. Sara Wheeler, who has travelled extensively in the Antarctic, has had unrestricted access to new material and the full co-operation of Cherry's family."--BOOK JACKET.
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