The Longest Winter - Scott's Other Heroes
As the drama of Captain Scott’s iconic polar expedition was unfolding in January 1912, a group of men from his ‘Northern’ party were about to begin one of the greatest ever tales of adventure and physical endurance.
Stranded on the coast south of Cape Adare in Antarctica, their tents torn, their food nearly finished and their rescue ship trapped by thick pack ice, six desperate men faced disaster in the bitter cold of approaching winter.
The intensely human story of their miraculous survival in an ice cave is brought to life in Meredith Hooper’s gripping book which separates the parallel tragedy of Scott and his companions and allows these other heroes to take their rightful place in history.
The three ‘officers,’ including a lieutenant, doctor and geologist, along with a cook and two seamen, huddled in a 12ft by 9ft igloo carved into a snowdrift, lived off emperor penguins, seal meat and blubber and endured ailments from ‘stove blindness’ and frostbite to piles and dysentery while the polar winter raged outside.
Using accounts and diaries of the men involved, Hooper lays bare not just the sickness, starvation and suffering but the ingenuity, resilience, camaraderie and discipline which helped the party survive over six months of Antarctic winter.