I recently devoured The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, a riveting account of the Terra Nova Expedition, which culminated in Robert Scott’s fatal journey to the south pole and (almost) back.
The polar journey itself didn’t actually occur until two years into the expedition and, while spectacular in its own right, is not really the focus of the book. The titular journey, in which the author and two others set out during the Antarctic winter of 1911 to retrieve eggs from what was then the only known accessible Emperor Penguin rookery, is an epic tale of suffering and perseverance, but it’s not the book’s focus either.
Interweaving his own recollections with the letters and journal entries of himself and his companions, Cherry-Garrard tells a story not about a single expedition to Antarctica, but about mankind’s inherent need to explore the unknown fringes of the world we inhabit and to expand our knowledge of it at any cost.
I strongly recommend this book.