The Coldest March: Scott's Fatal Antarctic Expedition
“Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale.”—R. Scott, written after traveling for weeks of daily temperatures below minus 35 F. This riveting book tells the tragic story of Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his British team who in November 1911 began a trek across the snows of Antarctica, striving to be the first to reach the South Pole. After marching and skiing more than nine hundred miles, the men reached the Pole in January 1912, only to suffer the terrible realization that a group of five Norwegians had been there almost a month earlier. On their return journey, Scott and his four companions perished, and their legacy—as courageous heroes or tragic incompetents—has been debated ever since. Susan Solomon brings a scientific perspective to understanding the men of the expedition, their staggering struggle, and the reasons for their deaths. Drawing on extensive meteorological data and on her own personal knowledge of the Antarctic, she depicts in detail the sights, sounds, legends, and ferocious weather of this singular place. And she reaches the startling conclusion that Scott’s polar party was struck down by exceptionally frigid weather—a rare misfortune that thwarted the men’s meticulous predictions of what to expect. Solomon describes the many adventures and challenges faced by Scott and his men on their journey, and she also discusses each one’s life, contributions, and death. Her poignant and beautifully written book restores them to the place of honor they deserve.