The Worst Journey in the World

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Selected by Adventure magazine as the number one adventure book of all time, The Worst Journey in the World is Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s dramatic, moving, and exceptionally human account of his survival as the youngest member of R

Selected by Adventure magazine as the number one adventure book of all time, The Worst Journey in the World is Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s dramatic, moving, and exceptionally human account of his survival as the youngest member of Robert Falcon Scott’s 1911 expedition to the South Pole.

The scion of English landed gentry, Cherry-Garrard was chosen from more than 8,000 volunteers to join the Scott expedition at the height of the craze for polar exploration. When they arrived in Antarctica, “Cherry,” as he was known, was not assigned to the team that would attain the pole, but instead, with two other members, to collect the eggs of the Emperor penguin. Cherry and his cohorts struggled in near total darkness across more than one hundred miles of ice in temperatures as low as 70 degrees below zero, slept in bags heavy with their own frozen sweat, dragged a 700-pound sled over whipping ice that felt like sand against their faces, and wore clothes that were literally frozen stiff. All things considered, his title seems almost charitable.

In spite of the sheer suffering and loss, and despite the guilty feelings that he could have done more to save Scott and his crewmembers—a guilt that haunted him until his death—Cherry-Garrard managed to write an account of the ill-fated journey that is infused with his own sweetness and humility. Sometimes funny, often sad, and thoroughly detailed, The Worst Journey in the World is a triumph of adventure storytelling rightly deserving of its place at the top of the genre.

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