South Pole

This interesting book, part of a series that aims to present events in history from the point of view of more than one participant, is the story of Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen and of their rivalry in the quest to become the first to reach the South Pole. The prologue gives useful information on both men and on the Antarctic, and each alternate chapter presents the expedition in turn from Scott’s and from Amundsen’s perspective, which allows the young reader readily to compare the two men’s stories. The chapters are quite long but have sub-chapters within them, which will be a help to younger readers. The stories are based largely on primary source material. The insertion of the telegram sent by Amundsen to Scott at the beginning of the race to the South Pole and the inclusion of many well-chosen extracts from the letters and diaries of participants, clearly distinguished from the rest of the text, give a sense of immediacy. There is an interesting concluding chapter showing how opinions about the heroic status or otherwise of both men changed over time as further evidence and historical study became available. This book is a very interesting read and would be suitable for young readers at upper primary or lower post-primary levels.