by Felicity Aston

Reviewer Rating:
4

Review

I love both adventure/travel memoirs and stories set in Antarctica, so I'm not sure how I missed this book when it came out several years ago--but I'm glad I found it eventually. Aston's story is unique in that she wanted to put together an international team of "ordinary women" to ski to the South Pole from the edge of the continent. She accepted applications from and interviewed women from the U.K., Ghana, Jamaica, Brunei, New Zealand, Cyprus, and India. This was a diverse group, most with little or no polar or expedition experience--some had never even seen snow before. The first 2/3 of the book details Aston's selection process, work on sponsorship for the expedition, and the details of the selection and training of the women. While this may not seem as exciting as the journey itself, her thoughts on teamwork dynamics and the goals of the expedition (to show women all over the world that anything is possible), as well as the logistics of sponsorship and publicity were quite interesting and even suspenseful in places. The precariousness of their situation, whether on the ice or with a single lost piece of equipment beforehand, is never far from your mind. The journey itself took 38 days of hard work, injuries, triumph and despair, small and large mistakes, and, ultimately, a team pulling together toward a common goal. An inspirational true story. Includes several pages of color photographs.

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