The Worst Journey in the World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Worst Journey in the World

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  2,613 ratings  ·  239 reviews
The Worst Journey in the World recounts Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Apsley Cherry-Garrard, the youngest member of Scott's team and one of three men to make and survive the notorious Winter Journey, draws on his firsthand experiences as well as the diaries of his compatriots to create a stirring and detailed account of Scott's legendary exp...more
Paperback, 688 pages
Published February 28th 2006 by Penguin Classics (first published 1922)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Worst Journey in the World, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Worst Journey in the World

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Never again. Never again will I complain. About anything. The sufferings heaped on the members of Scott’s second polar expedition make the ordinary misfortunes of modern life –- the fender-benders, hangovers and breakups –- seem like pleasant diversions. There are passages in this amazing memoir where the reader, appalled, begins to suspect that these men were collaborating on a metaphysically refined form of self-destruction.

Apsley Cherry-Gerrard –- and let me say now what a wonderfully plummy...more
He wasn't lying with that title, but what's missed out is that it's perhaps the most incredible journey too, as well as one of the most incredible books I've ever read (if I could give this 10 stars it wouldn't be enough).

Concerning Scott's last expedition to the Antarctic of which I previously knew woefully little (even though he's a hometown boy), I no longer have to lament that fact thanks to this most comprehensive and compelling account by Apsley Cherry-Garrard who, at 24, was a member of t...more
Tom Stallard
This is, quite simply, my desert island book. No other book encapsulates the message of hope in amoungst utter futility quite as perfectly as this. Describing the adventures of the Scott expedition, for all its joy and folly, based on the jaded observations of a man who went filled with hope and expectation and looks back at an older, more cynical age. As a travel diary, it has no comparison: this truly was a journey into the heart of darkness. While the famous Scott expedition to the pole is co...more
Pete daPixie
Apsley Cherry-Garrard's 'The Worst Journey in the World' is quite simply a 20th century classic. Published in 1922, the author recounts, in almost six hundred pages, Scott's polar expedition of 1910-1913.
I find reviewing this book extremely difficult. I'm probably still in a state of reverential and dumfounded awe after reading such an eloquent masterpiece. In the field of polar exploration or travel writing, this book is utterly astounding.

It is now a century past since the exploits of this 'wo...more
This is a first rate adventure story told by a man who is sensitive, thoughtful, courageous, and kindhearted. The part of the book from which the title is taken is maybe the most harrowing saga I've ever encountered, involving minus 70+ degree temperatures, howling winds, deadly crevasses, starvation, hopelessness, and endless darkness, all to collect Emperor Penguin eggs in the middle of an Antarctic winter.
I am not so big on non-fiction generally, but this is a book I could read again and a...more
Pemmican, apparently, tastes quite delicious when stirred into hot water and eaten as a "hoosh." Also, the Antarctic is cold & horrible & I really want to go there because falling in a crevasse would look amazing on a tombstone.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” said Henry David Thoreau when he read the galley proof of Walden and realized what kind of gonif editor he was faced with. Still, it did rather well. So has The Worst Journey, in spite of the fact the Natointal Geograhpic society ! has gotten hold of it.”

Now the book is over, and it’s back to my stinkin’ life. This is a fudge sundae of personal history, journals of explorer friends; of mountains, glaciers, ice, crevasses, pemmican and killer wh...more
James &
Actually, I listened to this book on Audible. It's possible that it could have accompanied me to the end of the world and back again. It is not short, and the better for it. You feel invested in the staggering persistence and extraordinary, dogged, foolhardiness that stretches over years. Listening to it unfold at its own pace was a distinctive experience; never boring, but almost mesmerizing.
Some of the casual descriptions of appalling and/or hilarious events were all the more perfect for the...more
Jonathan Hutchins
At a time when traditional heroism has been deconstructed and psycho-analysed out of existence, it becomes more necessary to understand the nature and purpose of the desire which drove a crew of men, most no longer young, to explore Antarctica and reach the South Pole. Note the order of those objectives: the comparison of Scott's 'failure' with Amundsen's 'success' is outrageously wrong: the latter was in a race to the Pole, the British party had a wide variety of scientific observations and int...more
(Free on the Gutenberg Project, complete with illustrations.)

But I also bought this hardback copy. A wonderfully thick book, beautiful to hold and read. So much more 'satisfying' than reading on a Kindle

A fabulous book, written in a comfortably 'personal' manner without any heroics ,just a factual account of real life. Utterly readable, amusing, sad, terrifying and brought me to tears in places. Quiet, understated English pluck at its best, and very different in style to Scott's somewhat dry an...more
This has to be one of the most heroic tales that I've ever been proud to have read. Coaxed into taking on this mamoth book by a friend I kept putting it off as something I wasn't sure if I could give the time and my full attention to. Realising it was the 100th anniversary since Scott's Polar expedition and learning that the streets around my home were named after him (and that he grew up in my area), I thought I had to do it. It was amazing!

There were times when I felt bogged down by measuremen...more
One of my favourite books. The title gives high expectactions, and Cherry-Garrard does a good job of justifying these. The book gives a real sense of the lives and the decisions that the early polar explorers faced. Cherry-Garrard's esteem for his colleagues is clear. Wilson in particular comes across as some kind of buddha figure.

The worst journey was going to collect penguin eggs in the middle of winter. The reason was that there was a theory that penguins were one of the most primitive specie...more
This is an account of Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition to the South Pole. But the title refers to a expedition made in the winter of 1911 by Bowers, Wilson and Cherry-Garrard to Cape Crozier to get Emperor penguin eggs. They believed there was a rookery there and that Emperor penguins laid and incubated their eggs in the wintertime. This was a very hazardous time for travel, intense cold and no sunlight means they were traveling in the dark over land that has crevasses and ice. It was either the...more
Joshua Horn
This is a first hand account of Captain Scott's Terra Nova Antarctic Expedition of 1910-1912. The expedition's goal was to send the first party to the South Pole, as well as other parties to do scientific research. The book was well written, although it got slightly dryer and hard to follow when Cherry quotes extensively from letters and journals of his fellow explorers. The book really gets exciting when Cherry, Wilson and Bowers went on a journey during the Antarctic winter to get specimens of...more
Douglas Dalrymple
Apsley Cherry-Garrard was one of the younger members of the cursed 1911-1912 Robert Falcon Scott expedition to Antarctica and the South Pole. Cherry, as his fellow expedition members called him, was one of three who undertook the infamous 70-mile “winter journey” in total dark and temperatures of 75 degrees below zero (F) to retrieve three emperor penguin eggs for science. He was also a supporting member of the Polar team and among those who finally discovered the frozen corpses of Scott, Wilson...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fantastic account of Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated 1910-1913 Terra Nova expedition in Antarctica. It's wordy. Extremely wordy. But what words! Cherry-Garrard describes things beautifully, with emotion and humor and, well, lots of detail. He tells the story not only through this narrative, but also through his own journal entries and those of many of the other men who took part in this journey. And I love that, in addition to descriptions of the expedition itself, he also tells us about the jou...more
Well-deserved place atop the world's greatest adventure stories ever told. (Whether Cherry-Garrard wrote it himself, or had Shaw help him, is irrelevant, in my opinion.)

The title of the book refers to a brief slice of the 1911 trip to Antarctica that killed Scott and many members of his expedition. Scott's race to the South Pole is the background, the "worst journey" refers to a side-trip made by two members of the party. (I won't spoil it with any other details.) This is a flat-out superb book,...more
"At the same time, to visualize the Antarctic as a white land is a mistake,for, not only is there much rock projecting wherever mountains or rocky capes and islands rise, but the snow seldom looks white, and if carefully looked at will be found to be shaded with many colours, but chiefly with cobalt blue or rose-madder, and all the graduations of lilac and mauve which the mixture of these colours will produce. A White Day is so rare that I have recollections of going out from the hut or the tent...more
Read this book and you'll never bitch about stuff like not having enough towels in your hotel room or an over-cooked steak you were served at a restaurant in Paris. Yet another story that makes the modern man relize that there are no more worlds to discover. Polar exploration was just about the last of the travels into the unknown. I don't count space exploration because for that you need an entire country's economy behind you. Now any knob can circle the world with only a credit card. Sic trans...more
Derek Walsh
The title is no exaggeration. This is the tale of Captain Scott's ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic told by one of the survivors, with large extracts from Scott's own diary, and the diaries and letters of other members of the team.
Three years in some of the harshest conditions on the planet, in a time before portable radios, lightweight fabrics, vitamin tablets or reliable engines, this is a tale of bravery and determination, of abject misery, and ultimately of tragedy. I can assure the read...more
Describes a side-expedition of Scott's expedition to Antarctica. I would guess "the worst journey" was the harshest hardest out and back walk every undertaken voluntarily, not to escape, not for military needs, not for Queen and country, but for science. The three men set off in the Antarctic winter perpetual night to collect penguin eggs from a rookery. I can't begin tell you how bad the conditions were, how primitive was their equipment, but they did make it back to base camp with the eggs. Th...more
Sep 24, 2012 Thia added it
Wow! I was not prepared for the laborious task of reading this 300+, small print, scientific journal. It sounds like an intriguing story; maybe if there is a condensed version I would be interested. There are lots of different editions of this book so maybe one would be not so time-consuming. Maybe some day, but not toda.
Is it cold where you are? Are you tired of winter? Do you feel like you can't last until spring? If so, I have the book for you: the story of the Robert Falcon Scott 1911-1912 journey to the South Pole, written by his colleague and co-adventurer Apsley Cherry-Garrard. It tells of the explorers' journey to McMurdo Sound in Antarctica, their building of their headquarters at "Hut Point", the scientific studies they made; the struggles with their transport animals, ponies and dogs; the dreadful Win...more
Dave Hoff
Another book on the trip to the So. Pole. This by one of Scott's companions, both the 1902 and 1910 expeditions He also found Scott's body the following spring 13 miles from a supply depot. Much of the book is from journals of several expedition members, those that lived & those that died returning from the pole. One wonders why the Brits put so much faith in ponies and seemed to dislike dogs and skies. Author spent many pages giving a biography of each pony. Poor ponies went through the sno...more
I picked this book on a lark-- it's really not part of any genre I ever read. That being said, in the (almost) month it took me to finish this book, it consumed me. I bookmarked the Terra Nova Expedition Wikipedia page so that I could refer to it continuously. I printed numerous maps that I would lay around me while reading (much to the amusement of my husband). I made notes on these maps (distances between the camps, the depots, etc.). Apsley Cherry-Garrard was not a writer, yet his description...more
Jan 16, 2008 Jason rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who are too hot
Shelves: history
Besides having the best title ever, this book is in turns witty, engaging, harrowing, fascinating, and filled with penguins, smoked and otherwise.
Oct 31, 2008 Natalie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
An adventure classic that explores human nature, endurance, and the aftermath of disaster.
Barbara Brannon
Twenty-first-century readers may have little patience for the kind of detail, or the sometimes cloying descriptions of honor among comrades, that Apsley Cherry-Garrard poured into this account of Scott's ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole in 1910-1913. But persistence, as Cherry-Garrard continually reminds us, is worth the effort to finish this classic memoir of exploration, which captured the world's attention upon first publication in 1922 and quickly became a best-seller in its...more
Mark Mallett
Wow. What a story.

It's long. There are 8o pages of introduction before you get to page 1 - some 50 or so by the author, providing some background material for the reader, and the rest by George Seaver as a preface to the 1985 edition, shedding a little light on the life, character, and habits of the author. These both make great reading: I recall thinking that if the book was as enthralling as its lead-in material, I had something to look forward to. And it was, and I did.

The book is about Scott...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Scott's Last Expedition: The Journals
  • Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written
  • Farthest North
  • The Home Of The Blizzard: A True Story Of Antarctic Survival
  • The Last Place on Earth: Scott and Amundsen's Race to the South Pole (Modern Library Exploration)
  • South: The story of Shackleton's last expedition 1914 - 1917
  • South Pole: An Account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the 'Fram', 1910-12
  • In the Land of White Death: An Epic Story of Survival in the Siberian Arctic
  • The Lost Men: The Harrowing Saga of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party
  • Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure
  • My Life as an Explorer
  • South with Endurance: Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917
  • Annapurna
  • K2, The Savage Mountain: The Classic True Story of Disaster and Survival on the World's Second Highest Mountain
  • Endurance
  • Running the Amazon
  • The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons
  • The Mountains of My Life (Modern Library Exploration)
The Worst Journey in the World, Volumes 1 and 2 : Antarctic 1910-1913 The Great True Adventure Story With Panoramas, Maps, And Illustrations (Annotated and Illustrated) Stop What You’re Doing and Read…On a Journey: The Worst Journey in the World & The Road to Oxiana Ice: Stories of Survival from Polar Exploration The Antarctic: An Anthology THE ANTARCTIC EXPLORATION ANTHOLOGY: The Personal Accounts of the Great Antarctic Explorers

Share This Book

“And I tell you, if you have the desire for knowledge and the power to give it physical expression, go out and explore.” 12 likes
“Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised.” 10 likes
More quotes…