mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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"At the Mountains of Madness" is for wimps. (96)

The Heart of the Great Alone by David Hempleman-Adams, Sophie Gordon & Emma Stuart.

"I am just going
Outside and may be some time."
-"No Surrender" Oates

I'm of course familiar with these gentlemen, not least because two months ago I read a similar book focusing on the Scott expedition. & we get a recap of Scott & Shackleton here-- your Cherry, Birdie & Oates, Captain Falcon, all that. Antarctica blows my mind. It is like an outerspace you can go to. Just right there, south, awaits a physical manifestation of nihilism. I'm sorry, Ice-shirt but you are well & truly put to shame by the Great White. Hempleton-Adams made a modern, one-man trip to the south pole, where he was picked up by an airplane-- he has no illusions about who are the real heroes. The appendix of chronologies records the dates as "'heroic age' of Antarctic exploration" & really, it is, isn't it? You get to see human being stretched to their most admirable-- science! Bravery! Exploration! Without the clouding tint of imperialism or commercialism-- pure stuff, here. & heart break. Oates, knowing his frostbitten feet are holding back the team from possible survival walks into a blizzard to die, his last words "I am just going outside and may be some time." Damn, man. That said, you don't come here for the story. You come for the pictures! The book is chock full of 'em, gems like Ponting's "Castle Berg" below. A great deal of them haven't been exhibited before, coming from private Royal collections. The book also has a number of chapters on photography, both technique & history, which frankly went over my head. Also deliciously brimming with appendices, including "non-photographic material" like the various journals compiled by the expeditions. Oh, I liked this book. I wouldn't stop talking about it!

Tags: books, haiku

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