Great Scott Debunked
- Scott and Amundsen by Roland Huntford
Hodder, 665 pp, £13.95
Debunking explorers seems to have become a popular pastime. In recent years, Oliver Ransford has diagnosed David Livingstone as a manic depressive, Dennis Rawlins has discredited Robert Peary’s claim to the North Pole, and William McKinlay has proved that Vihjalmur Stefansson was a selfish cad. Debunking probably was inevitable. These men were all of the heroic age of exploration that began in the mid-19th century and ended at the beginning of the First World War. Explorers of any age are likely to be enveloped in romantic haze, but during that period they seemed almost superhuman.