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Shackleton's Dream: Fuchs, Hillary and the Crossing of Antarctica.


Fuchs, Hillary and the Crossing of Antarctica

by Stephen Haddelsey

The History Press. hb, 20 [pounds sterling]

Crossing Antarctica in a fleet of specially designed motor vehicles, backed up by fuel drops from the air and modern communications, sounds more appealing man the gruelling ordeals that Scott and Shackle[on took on But, as Vivian Fuchs discovered 45 years after Scott's death when he set out to make the first coast-to-coast crossing of Antarctica, the basic problems of exploration on the continent had barely changed

Fuchs' Trans-Antarctic Expedition. long overlooked in the rush to lionise me Heroic Age, was a tremendous achievement, and to succeed, me expedition team had to overcome many familiar hurdles, including inadequate funding, political in-fighting and defective equipment.

Fuchs completed the 3,200-kilometre crossing and the expedition made important contributions to science out their feats got lost in the hullabaloo that surrounded the space race: Sputnik was launched a few months before Fuchs had finished his traverse.

As Stephen Haddelsey reveals in Shackleton's Dream, the final battleground was me clash of egos of Fuchs and his fellow traveller, Sir Edmund Hillary. At times, the expedition, a vast undertaking of two base camps, ships, aircraft and men and equipment scattered across thousands of kilometres, came close to grinding to a halt as they argued

The reputation of neither man emerges unscathed from Haddelsey's fine account, the first comprehensive book on the expedition since the official record Fuchs lofty leadership style added to the strains and Hillary's naked self-serving opportunism will surprise those who prefer their heroes cast as saints

Haddelsey has produced a very well-researched and valuable book that's based on new information and includes important personal recollections from me expedition's survivors. He will also agreeably surprise those who believe excitement in Antarctic exploration ended during the Heroic Age. MICHAEL SMITH

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Comment:Shackleton's Dream: Fuchs, Hillary and the Crossing of Antarctica.
Author:Smith, Michael
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 1, 2012
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