'Hell With A Capital H'.An epic story of Antarctic Survival.
It can be said that there is an over- abundance of epic Antarctic survival stories however, this one is the best. Led by Victor Campbell, (an inspired choice by Scott) the Northern Party survived an Antarctic winter in a snow drift burrow. Make no mistake, this is a real tale of hardship, heroism and endurance. It is a story of classical proportions and deserves another airing and analysis. The question is, does this book do expedition justice? It would be so easy when writing yet another modern résumé of one aspect of heroic age exploration to criticise and question using modern views and hindsight. Scott, especially used the Navel class system as a means of maintaining discipline and control. Campbell, did likewise with the Northern party. We can today look back with amazement at how 'officers' and 'men' were treated differently. Katherine Lambert's book makes a study of the relationships within the party, she points out these 'class' differences without modern analysis and this is important. It wasn't until after the First World war that people began to question and change these attitudes. There was in Campbell's 'man management' system a precarious balance and I feel that this is adequately expressed in this book. It is not perfect though, and the poor author is never going to live it down that in a footnote on page 138 she describes that 'When Oates's body was found, it was discovered that he cut his boots open (easier to force his frozen feet in). Hmmm, the fact that Oates body had ever been found is news to me. Despite that, this is a good book and yes, it does this marvellous, inspiring story justice and that is what counts.
Published by Pimlico in 2002.