The Birthday Boys was a fascinating read. We all agreed that the author succeeded very well getting into the heads of Scott and the men who accompanied him to the South Pole. Mike gave us an excellent introduction with lots of facts and photos of the expedition, and though Bainbridge’s account was what might be called ‘faction’ she had obviously researched it throughly, including the backgrounds of the each of the men who narrated part of the story. We enjoyed the book far more than any of us thought possible, but nonetheless, most of us still found it difficult to understand why human beings would sacrifice so much, their health, wealth, family and ultimately their life, to race to a remote point in the snow and back again. Bainbridge showed us their grit and determination, generosity and grace, but perhaps missed out on the passion and excitement of scientific curiosity.
If you are interested in further reading, this first-hand account is highly recommended: The Worst Journey in the World: A Tale of Loss and Courage in Antarctica by Apsley Cherry-Garrard.
Points: 6 – 6 – 7 – 7 – 7 – 7 – 7 – 7.5 – 8 – 8 – 8 – 8 – 8 – 8 – 8.5 – 9
Second Circle – reading list