File Size: 1748 KB
Print Length: 224 pages
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (August 1, 2010)
Publication Date: August 1, 2010
Most such tales fall into 1 of 2 categories: Follies dripping with ineptness, irony and tragedy (such as Scott's fatal expedition to the South Pole); or well-planned and performed journeys that are virtually dull and boring in their expert execution (Amundsen's successful "first" to the South Pole). "Cooper's Creek" has both - and more.
In 1860-61 an expedition northwards from Melbourne across the largely unfamiliar interior to the north coast of Australia finished with the deaths of three of the four explorers that had made the last dash. The fourth lived due to recovery by the local natives (the "black gentlemen"). The end result was made more remarkable and tragic because men of the base depot on whom the four depended had returned to the south some day before the discovering party returned.
There are dozens of "what ifs" that could have changed the results. These (along with the interplay between individuals and supporters) make this book all the a mystery or detective story as a tale of adventure.
It is also both interesting and tragic to read of these outsiders struggling and dying as they trek through groups of black gentlemen that have mastered the country. You aren't but wonder to what extent the explorers seeming contempt of the native Australians should have, in the end, turned to admiration., Seems a staunch admirer of Alan Moorehead's best-known books about the pursuit of little-known areas of the world (The Glowing blue Nile and The White Nile) for many years. Happily I learned that he had written a book about the dangerous and in the end deadly try to fill in the map of the middle of Australia soon after the middle of the 19th century, and I actually learned it shortly before leaving for a journey to Australia, so the timing could not have been more perfect. The particular expedition seemed at first to have been perfectly planned, but human failings, misunderstandings, ego, arrogance, undersirable climate, and some singularly unlucky choices that were not in themselves bad ones and were fully in character in the end led to tragegy. The center of Australia--a hot, waterless desert much of the year, inhabited by Aborigines, with which the white settlers so far had very little connection--could hardly be more different than the Earth valley and the heavily populated jungles of Far east Africa that were the settings of the two earlier books, yet as before Moorehead combines an account of the almost superhuman exertions of the party to survive and the interaction of individuality that made the probabilities so risky. One does not need to be crossing the Australian einzugsgebiet to be captivated by the book, though it is a gripping companion for such an experience. But, just about any, Moorehead discloses the strengths and disadvantages of men in a very challenging situation, and makes it compulsively readable., The early days of Australian discovery are in many ways similar to the extreme conditions came across by Lewis and Clarke with a few exclusions. Australian explorers had to deal with impossible heat, little water and sporadic support from the Aussie government and the pursuit society that was intended to be backing them, Food supplies were often scarce and subsistence living hit or miss.
This is a fascinating, comprehensive account of the brave group of marginally experienced explorers who set out to find potential arable land for future settlers and also to explore the vast outback. In spite of the experience of the group's leaders, nearly all of the group died in the effort. This detailed accounts is taken from publications and first hand reports of the few remainders and tells of the daily fight for survival in a hostile land., This specific book was a little difficult to follow, but. I did so enjoy learning about some of the location of Australia., I really like first-hand historical accounts of outside experience and exploration, and also this one is a classic. The particular descriptions of wildlife alone are worth the read, but this is also a riveting story of an expedition run amok. Like the equally exciting "Desperate Passage" and "The Ice Master, " this story is also often brutal and heartbreaking. Since a sensitive individual that cries easily, I am nevertheless drawn to these tales because they have so much to teach us all about human nature, and the extremes of cowardice and bravery of which it is capable under success conditions., It's a marvelous book. It's hard to believe the studies this group went through - the exploration of Quotes is outstanding for the hardships people went through to map that continent. Even though I've never been able to go there, I've got any number of books and have read extensively and it's still amazing to me how very large and relatively unpopulated the country is., Read the whole book. Seemed like reading abstracts from a county meeting., Information is okay - can feel like a long read - doesn't feel simple smooth
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