The Unsung Hero: Tom Crean

A key expedition member of many expeditions in the 'heroic age' at long last gets a biography. We read of many 'unsung hero's'. Tom Crean is one, for sure, another is Frank Wild...and of course Bowers... Campbell... Wilson, but then I am a little biased. Here we have a hard working, basically honest, sailor who is plucked from the ranks and rewards his superiors' by showing an extraordinary physical talent for polar travel. Crean was not a diary writer and this unfortunately shows in this book which at times seems to cover some old ground in order to pad out the story. Crean was a particular favourite of Scott's and I am still not sure why this was, even after reading his biography.

Published 2000 by Collins.

I Am Just Going Outside: Captain Oates- Antarctic Tragedy

Thankfully Oates was of an era where gentlemen wrote lengthy letters to their mothers and the British Army had battalions of record keepers. Our dear Titus has his background minutely scrutinised yet again- this time with some juicy bits of gossip. I note that Amazon have miss- titled this book calling it ' ........ Captain Scott's Antarctic Tragedy'. Yet strangely this slip has a unsettling truth about it. Scott made a mistake in taking Oates with him to the Pole (one of several) but thats why this subject matter is so interesting.

Published Spellmount 2002.

James Wordie Polar Crusader: Exploring the Artic and Antarctic

Michael Smith has the knack of picking the real heroes of Antarctic exploration and Wordie is no exception. James Wordie was a Scotsman who stayed on Elephant Island while Shackleton went cruising around the Southern Seas in an open boat. He was an extraordinary man and well deserves this study. I look forward to reading it.