10 JUNE 1938, Page 32


South Latitude (Longmans, 9s. 6d.) is one of the best books of Antarctic travel for years. It is difficult to imagine anybody not enjoying it, what- ever his taste. The sort of experi- ences Mr. Ommanney had do not differ very much from those recorded in many other books : he joined the ' Discovery II ' expedition in South Georgia as a zoologist, studied whales, went with the rescue-party that found Lincoln Ells- worth, the American airman, on the Ross Barrier, was stranded on a remote beach, and was in the ' Discovery ' when she was nearly trapped in pack-ice. Storms, ice and whiles are his main materials ; they have seldom been so well used. But what gives the book its special flavour is the character of the author indirectly revealed. He sees himself as no hero, and writes in a perfectly natural way, as if for pleasure. He never tries to, impress us, so of course we like him, and are sorry when the book is finished. The publishers might have forgone their well-meant references in the • " blurb " to Conrad and Melville. Mr. Ommanney will do quite well without them. For this is no romance of the sea, no Antarctic epic, but an unassuming, amusing, exciting and altogether, successful story of per- sonal experience.