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Posts under ‘Book Reviews’

BOOK REVIEW: EMPIRE ANTARCTICA

Published: The Scotsman (TSMag) 22 December 2012 Empire Antarctica: Ice, Silence And Emperor Penguins By Gavin Francis Chatto & Windus, 260pp, £16.99 THERE’S an odd dichotomy at the heart of this fascinating book by Edinburgh doctor Gavin Francis. On the face of it, Empire Antarctica sounds as if it’s going to be (yet) another tale […]

OUTDOORS BOOKS OF THE YEAR

Published: The Scotsman (TSMag) 15 December 2012 IN THE Natural Explorer, (Sceptre, £16.99) the follow-up to his acclaimed debut The Natural Navigator, published in March, Tristan Gooley draws an important distinction between explorers and adventurers – two types who have become increasingly confused in recent years, not only in the field of professional gung-ho-ism, but […]

BOOK REVIEW: DANGEROUS WORK

Published: 20 October 2012 Dangerous Work: Diary Of An Arctic Adventure by Arthur Conan Doyle British Library, 368pp, £25 THERE is no shortage of written accounts of the Arctic whaling industry, which flourished in the 19th century, enriching port towns and cities on both sides of the Atlantic. In the whaling museum in New Bedford, […]

BOOK REVIEW: 1912, BY CHRIS TURNEY

Published: Scotland on Sunday, 16 September 2012 1912: The Year The World Discovered Antarctica By Chris Turney Bodley Head, £20 ‘THE South Pole discovered.” That was the headline on the London Daily Chronicle’s exclusive report on Roald Amundsen’s arrival at the South Pole in 1912, and, according to earth scientist Chris Turney, it sums up […]

BOOK REVIEW: THE OLD WAYS

Published: The Scotsman (Books) 9 June 2012 The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot By Robert Macfarlane Hamish Hamilton, 433pp, GBP20, WE EASILY forget that we are track-makers,” writes Robert Macfarlane in his introduction to The Old Ways, “because most of our journeys occur on asphalt and concrete.” He’s right, of course: it’s hard to […]

BOOK REVIEW: LAND’S EDGE

Published: The Scotsman (TSMag) 7 April Land’s Edge: A Coastal Memoir by Tim Winton Picador, 113pp, £12.99 WHEN it was first published in Australia in 1993, this memoir from author and outdoorsman Tim Winton – more a random collection of brief, vivid memories than a coherent autobiography – came packaged as a large coffee table […]

BOOK REVIEW: THE ICE BALLOON

Published: Scotland on Sunday (The Week) 4 March 2012 The Ice Balloon by Alec Wilkinson Fourth Estate, £14.99 ON 11 JULY 1897, at 2.30pm, the Swedish aeronaut Salomon August Andrée and his assistants, Nils Strindberg and Knut Fraenkel, took off from the island of Svalbard in a 94ft-tall, tonne-and-a-half hydrogen balloon, heading for the North […]

BOOK REVIEW: THE BEST EXPLORATION BOOKS OF 2011

Published: The Scotsman (Books) 10 December 2011 INEVITABLY perhaps, given that the winter of 2011/12 marks the centenary of Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated trek to the South Pole, it’s been a busy year for books about polar exploration. We didn’t just get re-releases of existing material in fancy new dust jackets either but at least […]

BOOK REVIEW: ON EXTINCTION

Published: Scotland on Sunday, 9 October 2011 ON EXTINCTION Melanie Challenger Granta, £20 A TREND seems to have developed over the last few years for well-meaning literary types concerned about climate change to travel to the Arctic or Antarctica to get a good look at all that portentous melting ice, with the intention of writing […]

BOOK REVIEW: EXPLORERS OF THE NILE

Published: The Scotsman (Books supplement) 10 September 2011 Book review: Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and the Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure, by Tim Jeal Faber, 510pp, £25 IN HIS introduction to this juicy slice of revisionist history, Tim Jeal acknowledges the modern penchant for calling 19th-century adventurers “self-destructive or perverse” and tries […]