I'll start by saying that Captain Scott is not the kind of book I usually pick up. The fact is, I bought it at a price so cheap they were nearly giving it away. Like most people, I knew next to nothing about Captain Scott the individual, but, I sort of understood the bare bones of his journey and his great and tragic achievement.
The book deals primarily with Scott's two expeditions to Antarctica and his quest to be the first to the South Pole. Captain Scott treats the reader to a very thorough investigation and recounting of how these two missions of exploration came about, the build up to them, the missions proper and subsequent aftermath.
Fiennes has researched this book thoroughly and has left no stone unturned. At times, the book could almost be a novel with a talent that is deft at storytelling. Fiennes is not only a brilliant explorer, he is also a brilliant writer.
On the whole, Fiennes takes a positive approach towards Scott's leadership skills and personality. He attempts to debunk much of the anti Scott writing of recent years with plenty of evidence to the contrary. It's interesting that Fiennes says, (toward the end of the book), that the reader must make up their own mind about Scott's character. I am under the impression that it is probably best to take the middle ground, as far as Scott is concerned. He was probably, (like most people), a complex mix of good and bad and we shall probably never fully understand what his make-up was.
Captain Scott gives the reader a wealth of information and knowledge regarding the perils and challenges of polar exploration. It is hard not to be swept up by the camaraderie and team spirit of each expedition. The sheer effort involved in the planning and execution of such ambitious ventures. And even if the idea of embarking on such tough, strenuous and dangerous exploits are an anathema to the reader, one can still gain an insight into the mentality of striving to achieve such feats and perhaps even an interest to learn more or gain inspiration from it.
In all honesty I didn't expect to enjoy this book any way near as much as I ended up doing. It surprised me in so many ways that I am pleased I took a chance in buying it. Expertly written, fascinating and inspiring, I give Captain Scott;