The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard

 

Introduced by Francis Spufford

Illustrated edition published by The Folio Society.

 

‘The single greatest book in the literature of polar exploration… it is boyish and melancholy, ironic and understated, absoluitely individual and very English’
From Francis Spufford’s introduction

 

This Folio Society edition of The Worst Journey in the World is illustrated with photographs taken by expedition members, while the dramatic binding reproduced one of Edward Wilson’s watercolours. The edition also includes the meteorological log of the Winter Journey kept by Bowers, a detailed index and three specially re-drawn maps.

 

‘When people as me… “What is your favourite travel book?” I nearly always name this book. It is about courage, misery, starvation, heroism, exploration, discovery and friendship.’
Paul Theroux

 

‘Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised.’ So Cherry-Garrard recalled his experience on Scott’s Terra Nova expedition to Antarctica. When he first returned, Cherry-Garrard was asked to write its official history, but it soon became clear that this often uncomfortably honest account was not going to be suitable. While Cherry-Garrard always retains an English measure of reserve and is often very witty, he has no false heroism, no desire to make light of horror. His account of the appalling conditions of the journey made to Cape Crozier in the dead of winter (the worst journey of the title) is unsurpassed in its evocation of suffering. This expedition to collect eggs from the Emperor penguins nearly cost the lives of all three men: Birdie Bowers, Edward Wilson and Cherry-Garrard. That he survived, when his two companions perished on the return from the pole, haunted Cherry-Garrard for the rest of his life.

 

Cherry-Garrard gained access to an exceptional number of letters, diaries and records. He incorporates many different perspectives, giving the book what introducer and biographer Francis Spufford calls ‘the quality of appearing to record something that is happening in front of us’.

 

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