Scott's last Antarctic expedition is one of the great adventure stories of the twentieth century. On 1 November 1911, a British team set out on the gruelling 800-mile journey across the coldest and highest continent on Earth to travel to the South Pole. Five men battled through unimaginably harsh conditions only to find the Norwegian flag had been planted at the Pole just weeks before. Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Lieutenant Henry Bowers, Petty Officer Edgar Evans, Captain Lawrence Oates, and Dr Edward Wilson all died on the return trek, starved and frozen to death, only eleven miles from a supply camp. In November 1912, a rescue party discovered their last letters and diaries, which told a story of bravery, hardship, and self-sacrifice that shocked the world. Recent decades have seen controversy rage over whether Scott was the last of a line of great Victorian explorers, intent on discovering uncharted lands, or a hopeless incompetent driven by personal ambition. Rejecting the stereotypes, Max Jones reveals a complex figure, a product of the passions and preoccupations of an imperial age.
He also shows how heroes are made and manipulated, through a close examination of the unprecedented outpouring of public grief at the news of the death of Scott and his companions. Max Jones uses fascinating new evidence and prevously unseen illustrations to take us back to this remarkable moment in modern history, and tells for the first time the full story of The Last Great Quest.