Emperors of the Ice: A True Story of Disaster and Survival in the Antarctic, 1910-13by Richard Farr, Michael Page
In 1909, every continent had been thoroughly explored . . . except one. That September, Captain Robert F. Scott announced a new scientific expedition that would put Antarctica firmly on the map at last and claim the South Pole for Great Britain. Twenty-three-year-old Apsley Cherry-Garrard was asked to join. With no special skills, and terrible eyesight, he seemed a surprising choice. Yet in the most lethal wilderness on earth, where temperatures plummet to -77°F and even bacteria can't survive, "Cherry" proved himself so capable that he became a key member of the expedition. He volunteered for the infamous "Winter Journey" in 1911 - a horrific month long trek through storm-lashed darkness to collect the eggs of the Emperor penguin - and this half-mad outing in the name of science became the central experience of his life. The following spring, he was among the members chosen to support the 800-mile march to the South Pole - and then he was sent on another nearly disastrous mission, a doomed attempt to resupply the five men who had reached the Pole but never returned.
Emperors of the Ice is based on extensive research, and incorporates dozens of photographs and other material from the actual expedition.
But this is no mere history: recreating the story in Cherry's own voice, Richard Farr places listeners right inside this horrifying ordeal - and the amazing feats of courage and camaraderie that survival required. The result is inspiring and heartbreaking: a narrative you will never forget.
It's clear from the start that first-time author Farr cares passionately about his subject. Unfortunately it seems unlikely that contemporary readers will share his connection to Apsley Cherry-Garrard, upon whose memoir this account of Scott's ill-fated polar exploration is based. Told in the first person, this "fictional memoir" includes direct quotations from primary sources as well as black-and-white photographs from the expedition. Prior knowledge of the events is not assumed, and charts, maps and a timeline are included. Readers won't have much trouble, then, following what's happening. But ironically enough they may feel distanced from the action by the very technique that Farr hopes will draw them in. Evoking, quite convincingly, the voice of a privileged young man of the early 20th century, the text comes across as stilted and formal. Despite the high esteem in which "Cherry" clearly held them, the other explorers fail to come to life through his voice. The tragic outcome of the journey therefore loses some of its power despite its undeniable drama. Heartfelt but ultimately uninspiring. (preface, chronology, sources, bibliography) (Nonfiction. YA)
- Brilliance Audio
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 14 Years
Meet the Author
RICHARD FARR grew up in England and has worked as a college professor, a journalist, and a gas station attendant, among other things. He now lives in Seattle, Washington. This is his first book
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