It’s dreadfully sad — Worsley so nearly made it — but sadness is far from the whole story. Worsley had immense courage, a lovable, almost boyish sense of adventure, and his family felt huge pride in him, as did the British nation. ‘If I’m even half the man Dad turned out be,’ said Max, ‘I’d be so pleased.’
Henry Worsley was posthumously awarded the Polar Medal, whose previous recipients include both Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton. Two years after Henry’s death, Joanna, Max and Alicia returned to South Georgia, where Shackleton is interred. And in light snowfall, they buried a small wooden box containing Henry Worsley’s ashes.
David Grann’s The White Darkness is all-man, the gripping story of mighty but quite straightforward struggles... Grann is a New Yorker staff writer to be reckoned with. His book is short and you wish it were longer... Tones of Mailer and Hemingway gust through the book as Grann tells the story of his hero... No reader of Grann’s story of Worsley’s attempt will easily forget it.The greatness of Worsley’s courage, and the descriptions of his family and friends, are truly moving.
Here this book hits a challenge of its own. Told second-hand, crunching through the ice simply isn’t very interesting: just one agonising, storm-crushed, sled-dragging step after another until the job is done. There’s little reflection on the pointlessness of a journey which starts from one base and ends, after much frigid hell, at another, or of the psychological weirdness of being able to phone home every night from nowhere.