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Discussion Starter #1
I've just read Michael Palin's new book Erebus, about the Franklin expedition in search of the North-West Passage in 1845 - and an excellent book it is, too.

Palin makes clear the point that he is not a mariner. There are numerous nautical howlers in the book (a directional confusion of east and west and the use of the term "weighing anchor" when he clearly means "letting go" being perhaps the worst) but otherwise the story is both fascinating and gripping. He writes with a most readable clarity and wears his monumental research very lightly. He is, after all, a lumberjack and he's ok.

The story of course is triggered by the recent discovery of the wrecks of the two ships Erebus and Terror, the archeological research of which is only just beginning. It is a relief to read that there are no plans to try to raise either one.

As to the expedition itself, which was disastrous (as is well known) , read it for yourself. Well worth it.
 

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Seen it in Easons today and pondered. Was going to wait and read the review in ST Culture Magazine, not necessary now. Will buy for Christmas quiet days.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Dear Ian,

I have read extracts from some of your books.

Are any of them available through the public library system?

Best wishes,

Barrie
 

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I've just read Michael Palin's new book Erebus, about the Franklin expedition in search of the North-West Passage in 1845 - and an excellent book it is, too.

Palin makes clear the point that he is not a mariner. There are numerous nautical howlers in the book (a directional confusion of east and west and the use of the term "weighing anchor" when he clearly means "letting go" being perhaps the worst) but otherwise the story is both fascinating and gripping. He writes with a most readable clarity and wears his monumental research very lightly. He is, after all, a lumberjack and he's ok.

The story of course is triggered by the recent discovery of the wrecks of the two ships Erebus and Terror, the archeological research of which is only just beginning. It is a relief to read that there are no plans to try to raise either one.

As to the expedition itself, which was disastrous (as is well known) , read it for yourself. Well worth it.
My wife gave me a signed copy for my 60th recently along with a framed signed publicity poster for the book. Started reading it and thoroughly enjoying it. I have a few of Michael's books and have always enjoyed them, the best so far being his "Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure", also a birthday present, as I have always liked EH.

I've always been interested in Arctic and Antarctic exploration since I was given a copy of "South with Scott" when I was about 11. A treasured book that had been passed down to me when my mother's uncle passed away and one I have read several times over the years!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
#6

Agree with all of the above.

I, too, read South with Scott at the age of eleven. Erebus is the first book by Palin which I have read - as I had previously thought that his observations on travel were a bit lightweight - excellent company though he would undoubtedly be for anybody.

A recent disappointment has been "Captain Cook - Master of the Seas" by Frank O'Lynn. It is an authoritative tome of a book. We learn in the first few chapters of Cook's early life - and how he shows himself to be a paragon of navigation and hydrography when, after eight years in the Merchant Service he joins the RN and surveys much of the Gulf of the St Lawrence and Newfoundland. Admiration abounds. Cook's stalwart and sterling character shines through - and he is then commissioned to explore the South Seas. After a short distance into the account, the account itself becomes more heavyweight than interesting. Valuable no doubt it is, but it is not the most easily readable book I've ever read. Perhaps it becomes a bit like Cook himself, no better man than whom could be on a ship's bridge - but perhaps not exactly scintillating company.
 

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#6

Agree with all of the above.

I, too, read South with Scott at the age of eleven. Erebus is the first book by Palin which I have read - as I had previously thought that his observations on travel were a bit lightweight - excellent company though he would undoubtedly be for anybody.

A recent disappointment has been "Captain Cook - Master of the Seas" by Frank O'Lynn. It is an authoritative tome of a book. We learn in the first few chapters of Cook's early life - and how he shows himself to be a paragon of navigation and hydrography when, after eight years in the Merchant Service he joins the RN and surveys much of the Gulf of the St Lawrence and Newfoundland. Admiration abounds. Cook's stalwart and sterling character shines through - and he is then commissioned to explore the South Seas. After a short distance into the account, the account itself becomes more heavyweight than interesting. Valuable no doubt it is, but it is not the most easily readable book I've ever read. Perhaps it becomes a bit like Cook himself, no better man than whom could be on a ship's bridge - but perhaps not exactly scintillating company.
Another excellent read is "This Thing of Darkness" by Harry Thompson. It is a fictionalised account of Robert Fitzroy of HMS Beagle and also covers how he started what eventually became the Met Office. It is fairly certain that Fitzroy was bipolar, although that condition was not recognised in his time. It would be consistent with his periods of amazing creativity and productivity dovetailed with other times of deep depression. He eventually committed suicide.
 

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Can I recommend Michael Smith's "An Unsung Hero : Tom Crean - Antarctic Survivor" as a good read about someone involved in the Heroic Age.

A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to visit "The South Pole Inn" in Annascaul and made the pilgrimage to his tomb - a fascinating story
 

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"The worst Journey in the world" by Apsley Cherry-Garrard ia a wonderful read, if only for the introduction. He delivers the Penguin eggs that had been collected with the burden of a journey of amazing severity to the Natural History Museum, only to find that theories had moved on, and no-one cared or, indeed, even wanted the eggs.

His role in finding the bodies of Scott and his companions is also a story of responsibility being left with him that he was, perhaps, not expecting. A wonderful book.
 
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