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The Worst Journey in the World: With Scott in Antarctica 1910-1913 (The Worst Journey in the World #1 & 2)

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,928 Ratings  ·  315 Reviews
"The Worst Journey in the World is to travel writing what War and Peace is to the novel . . . a masterpiece."—The New York Review of Books
"When people ask me, 'What is your favorite travel book?' I nearly always name this book. It is about courage, misery, starvation, heroism, exploration, discovery, and friendship." —Paul Theroux
National Geographic Adventure magazine hail
Paperback, 528 pages
Published April 21st 2010 by Dover Publications (first published 1922)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 11, 2009 Buck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-writing
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
Jul 13, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
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
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
Nov 26, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie
Recommended to Laura by: Wanda
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

From BBC Radio 4 - Classical Serial:
Apsley Cherry-Garrard's gripping account of his experiences as the youngest member of Captain Scott's polar expedition team, adapted by Stef Penney.

1/2: In the austerely beautiful ices capes of Antarctica, things go disastrously wrong.

2/2: After two months of hard marching, Scott must tell four of the surviving twelve men that they must turn back.

Apsley Cherry-Garrard ...... Matt Green
Captain Robert Falcon Scott ...
Feb 03, 2008 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Pete daPixie
Jul 18, 2011 Pete daPixie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Dec 08, 2014 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
9 Dec 2014 -- find it here --

Jun 25, 2011 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dad
“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
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
Randolph Carter
Absolutely the most astonishing narrative of human trial survival against nature. The "Worst Journey..." is not Scott's expedition to the Pole, tragic as that was, but the Winter Journey to the rookeries of the Emperor Penguins.. Facing temperatures as low as -78F and fierce blizzards and gales the small team man-hauls to the rookeries, at one point having their tent blow away at night! Remember this was in 1911. No Goretex, no nylon.. All in search of the Emperor Penguin's egg.

Cherry-Garrard wo
(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
Dec 07, 2014 Fraser rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the finest books I have ever read in terms of defining the spirit of the adventurer going genuinely into the unknown.

Everyone knows the tragedy of the Scott Polar expedition, with its supposed 'race' with Amundsen to get to the South Pole, but here is one of the key members of that expedition some 10 years on, reflecting on it all, from start to finish.

To say heroic, is just simply an understatement. Cherry-Garrard's very own 'worst journey' with Wilson and Bowers off to Cape Crozier to c
Anna Vincent
Oct 05, 2014 Anna Vincent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in psychology, nature, survival, travel, Antarctica geology
Beautifully written, exquisitely detailed memoir, great for memoir enthusiasts and history readers alike.

I love many aspects of this book (style, story line, characterization, historical record, etc.), but on top of my list is that this book remarkably documents the core of what is real vs. what is perceived, and of the psychology of a small group of men, withholding their truth to makes the last days of their lives livable... and all in the gorgeous, other-wordly setting of Antarctica.

This is a
James &
Mar 28, 2013 James & rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 11, 2009 Leftbanker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
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
Feb 09, 2015 Self-propelled rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This, possibly the greatest true adventure story ever written, was well worth a winter re-read. Cherry-Garrard's description of the hellish Antarctic winter puts even a freezing January in perspective. I again shuddered in sympathy on reading that every night, he had to thaw his way into his frozen-solid sleeping bag, only to lie miserably sodden and cold for a few hours before beginning another "day" hauling his sled across the almost impassable Antarctic terrain in the pitch dark. He shivered ...more
Feb 13, 2012 Jade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2012
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
Nov 10, 2011 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 29, 2012 Joshua Horn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Brian Stanton
Jul 06, 2013 Brian Stanton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a brilliant description of one of the hardest challenges ever undertaken and a fascinating story. They shouldn't have succeeded with such poor equipment, strategy, conditions etc and ultimately they didn't but their story of endurance and the lengths they went to is utterly inspiring.
The cold, the snow blindness, the frost bite, the hunger, the scurvy, they fought all of these challenges and continued to maintain all the records they had come to produce, with no sense of negativity. The
Douglas Dalrymple
Jun 19, 2013 Douglas Dalrymple rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 28, 2010 Maureen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"The flowers were of snow, the rivers of ice, and if Stevenson had been to the Antarctic he would have made them so." (p 255)

Who would have guessed that a slight, young, recent Oxford graduate who paid for his passage with Robert Falcon Scott's Antarctic expedition would not only survive the ordeal but also write a classic narrative of his adventure? I might have been surprised had I not recently been reading the biography of young Teddy Roosevelt who overcame early physical weakness and dire di
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
May 27, 2012 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Nicole Pramik
Anyone gusty enough to brave the harshest regions of our planet without hope for reward or even survival has my utmost respect. I, for one, couldn't, and wouldn't, be so courageous. This book, which chronicles a 1910-1913 Antarctic expedition led by Richard Falcon Scott, is certainly titled correctly as the conditions these men faced were less than ideal. That being said, I'm not one for travel books, so I never would have picked this up if it hadn't been a book club selection. It is a lengthy r ...more
Mar 21, 2011 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Dec 09, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At close on 600 pages this book is as daunting to embark upon as the journey to Antarctica, described therein. First published in 1922 it is written in a style that can fairly be described as "not a page-turner". That said I enjoyed this book immensely, the attention to detail is excellent and the story is dramatic enough as it unfolds to carry the reader along.
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Other Books in the Series

The Worst Journey in the World (2 books)
  • The Worst Journey in the World, Antarctic, 1910-1913 Volume V.1
  • The Worst Journey in the World, Antarctic, 1910-1913 Volume V.2

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“And I tell you, if you have the desire for knowledge and the power to give it physical expression, go out and explore.” 14 likes
“Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised.” 13 likes
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