Pilgrims on the Ice: Robert Falcon Scott's First Antarctic Expedition

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Robert Falcon Scott’s 1901–4 expedition to the Antarctic was a landmark event in the history of Antarctic exploration and created a sensation comparable to the Arctic efforts of the American Robert E. Peary. Scott’s initial expedition was also the first step toward the dramatic race to the South Pole in 1912 that resulted in the tragic deaths of Scott and his companions. Since then Scott’s reputation has vacillated between two extremes: Was he a martyred hero, the beau ideal of a brave and selfless explorer, or a bumbling fool whose mistakes killed him and his entire party? In this work, Antarctic historian T. H. Baughman goes beyond the personality of Scott to remove the first expedition from the shadow of the second, to study objectively its purpose, its composition, and its real accomplishments.
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Editorial Reviews


“A long-needed, detailed assessment of Scott’s first Antarctic venture. . . . This is essential reading: vivid, exciting—even well-read Antarctic aficionados will hasten to turn the pages to learn how Scott manages to free his ship from the ice and take it home in one piece.”—Choice

English Historical Review

“Here is a book full of interest which synthesises a remarkable variety of written records. It is a marvelous read and greatly increases our respect for a venture combining the strengths and weaknesses of both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.”—David E. Sugden, English Historical Review

The American Neptune

“Baughman presents the story concisely and clearly. He has worked extensively in the primary sources and brings out new evidence about the expedition and its participants. . . . Pilgrims on the Ice is a solid contribution to the history of Antarctic discovery.”—E. Jeffrey Stann, The American Neptune: A Quarterly Journal of Maritime History and Arts

Considering it rather than as a mere precursor of the second expedition, Baughman (history, Benedictine College) examines the Discovery expedition of 1901 to 1904. He also transcends the propensity to decide whether Scott (1868-1912) was a martyred hero, a brave explorer, or a bumbling fool. The expedition caused a worldwide sensation and set off the race for the pole in which Scott and his men later died. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Terrae Incognitae

"Baughman's work provides a much-needed re-evaluation of a pivotal expedition and of some of the most important personalities in the history of Antarctic exploration. Pilgrims on the Ice succeeds both as an accessible and entertaining book for the general reader and as an invaluable addition to the field of polar history."—S.J. Collier, Terrae Incognitae

— S.J. Collier

Terrae Incognitae - S.J. Collier
"Baughman's work provides a much-needed re-evaluation of a pivotal expedition and of some of the most important personalities in the history of Antarctic exploration. Pilgrims on the Ice succeeds both as an accessible and entertaining book for the general reader and as an invaluable addition to the field of polar history."—S.J. Collier, Terrae Incognitae
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803216396
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 8.89 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

T. H. Baughman is chair of the History Department at Benedictine College. He is the author of Before the Heroes Came: Antarctica in the 1890s (Nebraska 1993).
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2001

    Essential Part of the Scott Literature

    Baughman has further confirmed his status as one of the finest polar historians of our time with his Pilgrims on the Ice (see also his Before the Heroes Came, Nebraska, 1994). The author has incorporated information from source documents in producing this detailed analysis of Scott's expedition of 1901-1904, an expedition that laid the groundwork for all later British Antarctic expeditions of the heroic era lasting up to 1922. In Pilgrims, Baughman has presented one of the only fair and unbiased images of Scott published since Roland Huntford's vitriolic Scott and Amundsen (1979). It has gone far in helping correct Huntford's grossly distorted image of Scott. In that respect, it stands alongside the biographies of Gwynn, Huxley, and Pound as an objective work. I strongly recommend the book for anyone interested in the heroic era of Antarctic exploration.

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