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Radiolab Reads: The Birthday Boys

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 04:00 PM

Robert Falcon Scott Robert Falcon Scott (Herbert Ponting/Wikipedia Commons)

In 1910, Robert Falcon Scott led an expedition to Antarctica in a race to become the first explorer to reach the South Pole. The trip went down in history as one of the most grueling, terrible journeys imaginable.

 

Without giving too much away, I'll say that whether or not you already know the outcome of the legendary expedition, Beryl Bainbridge's fictionalized retelling is one of the most gripping, quietly terrifying novels I've ever read. The Birthday Boys is a slim book, but it's so expertly packed with startling details, that reading it feels a little like rifling through the team's musty base camp while everyone's out on the ice.

And if you're as taken with The Birthday Boys as I was, you might want to snag a copy of The Worst Journey in the World--a firsthand account of the expedition published by by team member Apsley Cherry-Garrard in 1922.

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Comments [1]

Bob Shallcross from Manchester, England

I'm very pleased that you've also recommended 'The worst Journey in the World', it is a wonderful read.

When Apsley Cherry-Garrard describes trying to spend night after night in ridiculous sub-zero temperatures, in sleeping bags that are frozen solid with sweat, you realise they came from a generation made of sterner stuff.

Aug. 30 2011 03:40 PM

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