Author: Liv Arnesan & Ann Bancroft wit
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Retail Price: 9.99
Buy on Amazon.com link
Being allergic to any exercise or physical exertion whatsoever, I was never interested in the physical feats of others. “Because it’s there” seemed like an idiotic justification for life-threatening expeditions that serve no other purpose than to put your name in the books and inspire others to follow your suicidal footsteps. I can’t get very excited over tales of close calls and death-defying action, because it’s hard to be sympathetic over what I consider irresponsible behavior.
That cynicism aside, what these two women did is nothing short of amazing. They became the first women to traverse Antarctica by foot. The entire continent. Just before winter. This was a 1700-mile journey, and not only did they face 30-below temperatures, frostbite, injury, blizzards and other harsh environmental conditions (including the occasional frigid personality conflict), but they did all that while schlepping their 250-pound supply sledges! Jeez, and I complain about walking to the subway every day… Not only that, but this expedition was highly publicized, so they were also under pressure to keep a brave face during these months in hell, to inspire the children (especially young girls) who were following their trek.
The three-month expedition is beyond impressive, but the book… well, isn’t. Arnesen and Bancroft take turns telling parts of the story (dictated to Dahle), with connecting parts written by Dahle. It ends up reading more like a round robin interview than a book, and the long passages confuse the narrative. But I’m admittedly not used to these types of books, so perhaps I shouldn’t be expecting Jack London. In any case, it’s a fascinating story of two remarkable people. Maybe I wouldn’t buy the book, but I do recommend the inevitable made-for-tv movie that this story will inspire.
Bottom Line: Impressive story, unimpressive book