Saturday, August 22, 2009

Captain Scott by Sir Ranulph Fiennes

My previous post on Custer and how perception about him has changed the last hunderd years brought back to my mind a book about Captain Scott written by Sir Ranulph Fiennes (Hodder & Stoughton 2003) which I read some years ago.

Not only does Fiennes bring us a gripping tale about Scott's doomed attempt to reach the South Pole, he also analyses each decision of Scott from the explorer's point of view. Fiennes is an experienced Artic explorer and he is very well placed to explain why Scott took certain decisions based on the information, experience and tools he had at his disposal. After this eye opening account, Fiennes describes how the press and certain journalists started to alter the image the British had of Scott. As with Custer it has gone from hero to incompetent, egocentric monster and back in the span of a 100 years.

I found this building and unbuilding of one's reputation by the press a truely mindopening book.

Something to keep in mind next time we read the news or look at the journal.