Here, though, Barrett and Martin tell stories from the edge, exploring the essential but unexciting nitty-gritty details which need to be considered when planning expeditions to extreme environments, focusing on the psychological and biological responses which separate some of history’s toughest and most renowned explorers from the rest of us. How did a romantic mindset revolving around adventure and sacrifice conclude with Scott’s tragic death in Antarctica? How did Livingstone, Fiennes, and numerous other adventurers manage to maintain the resilience necessary to continue their various explorations, even as their bodies bled, oozed, and fell apart around them?
This is a highly comprehensive overview of some of the hardships and conflicts which aspiring explorers should prepare for prior to embarking on any great adventures, delving into how certain personality traits, life experiences, and physical conditions can combine to make some individuals so much better prepared for life ‘at the limits’ than others. Anyone who can absorb all these horrific stories of pain, trauma, and even death and still want to go exploring, has cleared a significant first hurdle.
This review was published in the August 2016 edition of Geographical magazine.