[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Finished To the Pole. A pleasant, entertaining read, albeit a book that's perhaps a bit too frank in places. The camaraderie between the women shines off the pages. The sheer hard work involved in traversing Antarctica--work which starts with getting together the money even to get there--is formidable, and their achievement in surmounting it impressive. Determination doesn't begin to describe what's required.

It's interesting to compare this book with Into Thin Air as the moods are so very different. Krakauer's book is sombre, reflective, self-examining. This book bounces around the ice and snow. There are major crises, yes, but little sense of guilt or self-reproach. Being part of a team, pulling together as a team and surmounting grave obstacles set the book's tone. Krakauer, on the other hand, never felt part of a team on Everest. He was climbing with strangers.

There is one marvellous moment near the end of the book when the team is approaching the South Pole and inadvertently wanders onto a runway (identifiable as such because a plane is landing). Ooops....

The book has one small part where Hamilton writes about being dissed by minor explorer David Hempleman-Adams, but I can't find it now and there's no index. Shame. I wanted to quote. Still, I can say if I ever read a book by this guy, it will be one I bought secondhand. Bwa ha ha! Take that!

A fun book about getting to the South Pole, with bits about getting to the North Pole as well. Although the women did some science on the Antarctic expedition, no results are reported here. There is however a huge appendix of all the kit they took with them. Astonishing.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
The Windup Girl will go to the local supermarket's charity table as soon as anyone's going that way. After all, it's only bad, not evil. It deserves a chance at a loving home.

Meanwhile, I've started reading To the Pole by Caroline Hamilton. This book is full of the sort of people I'd usually run to one Pole or the other to avoid. Certainly I wouldn't normally invite them into my head for any length of time. The sort of people who sail through life on a flying carpet of privilege, and actually seem to believe that everything that's been handed to them on a plate is something they've earned. Jolly hockey sticks!

It's striking however that Hamilton seems to need a man to tell her she can do things, even from her position of privilege. Daddy tells her to go to Cambridge (jolly hockey sticks!) and a man, a Real Polar Explorer Man, tells her, yes, Cinders, you can go to the ball. So she goes. What would have happened if RPEM had said, no, the Pole's not for you girl, so back to the hockey field with you? The mind boggles.

There are however touching and funny moments in this book. It's not nearly as annoying as it could have been. When the explorers are searching around with their GPS's trying to find the elusive North Geographic Pole, their combined excitement and frustration are catching. When they start singing our crap National Anthem, however, it's back to the hockey sticks.

I'd back this lot to get up Everest and down again, though.

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