Home History Library Museum Contact Links Site Map

Amundsen's first published comment on Scott

From Thrilling Experiences in Discovering the Poles

Our man Bill recently came across a truly rare Antarctic book. It is a "cheap edition" published in the summer of 1913, after Scott's death was known but before his journal was published. Compiled by General A. W. Greeley, it was rushed into print and contains no worthy polar knowledge save a very interesting first chapter: it is the first public comment on Scott's death by Roald Amundsen.

This is a fascinating example of Amundsen's Edwardian and Norwegian character. He is effusive about the tragedy of the expedition and the heroics of Scott's death. He waxes melodramatic on the horrors of the Great Barrier. He is sufficiently modest and keeps intact the idea that the morals and attitude of an Edwardian Englishman should be marvelled at and striven for. But Amundsen manages to sneak in a few comments that aren't quite so deferential which probably upset the protectors of the Scott Myth. It's fascinating reading for anyone interested in Amundsen's character.

Amundsen several times mentions that Scott "verifies my findings," meaning that
Scott's diary proves Amundsen was indeed first at the pole.

Amundsen surmises correctly that Scott and his party died of Scurvy.

It is obvious that Amundsen had not gotten to read Scott's diary before he wrote this (or perhaps only
some of it), as we know now that Scott did not miss the depot.

What do YOU think of Amundsen's tribute? Send an email or leave a comment in the guestbook.

Copyright © 2000, 2001 Emily Slatten; about framheim;