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Great Scott Debunked

Chauncey Loomis, 6 December 1979

Scott and Amundsen 
by Roland Huntford.
Hodder, 665 pp., £13.95
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... any sort, has ever suffered a worse mauling than Robert Falcon Scott has suffered at the hands of Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen. If Scott received undue adulation in the past, he has now received undue abuse. In spite of Scott’s popularity as a hero, his reputation has never been high among students of polar exploration, and much of what ...

Sydpolarfarer

Chauncey Loomis, 23 May 1985

The Norwegian with Scott: Tryggve Gran’s Antarctic Diary 1910-1913 
edited by Geoffrey Hattersley-Smith, translated by Ellen Johanne McGhie.
HMSO, 258 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 11 290382 7
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... Scott replied: ‘Regret it or not, I have made my decision as a Christian gentleman.’ Roland Huntford makes effective use of this incident in Scott and Amundsen. It clearly reveals one of Scott’s fatal weaknesses, a weakness that in other circumstances could be considered a strength – his inability to be brutal to animals. For ...

Cool It

Jenny Diski, 18 July 1996

I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination 
by Francis Spufford.
Faber, 356 pp., £15.99, June 1996, 9780571144877
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... see a new sensibility arriving, taken up later by the reassessments from both the New Right (Roland Huntford) and the Left (Trevor Griffiths), which finally replaced the old reverence with repugnance for the ineptitude and waste of life. Or perhaps it is something else, something more interesting than people just being of their times. Cherry-Garrard ...

Had we lived …

Jenny Diski: The Afterlife of Captain Scott, 9 February 2006

Scott of the Antarctic: A Life of Courage and Tragedy in the Extreme South 
by David Crane.
HarperCollins, 637 pp., £25, November 2005, 0 00 715068 7
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... of Margaret Thatcher’s brash, commercial vision of what ‘British’ was supposed to mean, Roland Huntford announced a radical new verdict on Scott: as gravely inefficient, a hopeless incompetent, a victim of the exhaustion of empire. Later, in the 1980s, Trevor Griffiths endorsed the judgment from the left. On what is beginning to look like a ...

No Longer Merely the Man Who Ate His Boots

Thomas Jones: The Northwest Passage, 27 May 2010

Arctic Labyrinth: The Quest for the Northwest Passage 
by Glyn Williams.
Allen Lane, 440 pp., £25, October 2009, 978 1 84614 138 6
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Franklin: Tragic Hero of Polar Navigation 
by Andrew Lambert.
Faber, 428 pp., £20, July 2009, 978 0 571 23160 7
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... small, shallow-draught herring boat. His success was largely down to his sensible methods – what Roland Huntford, the author of Scott and Amundsen, has called his ‘meticulous planning and complete lack of a sick desire for heroic suffering’ – and his willingness, in contrast to Franklin, to adapt to his environment. For travelling ...

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