‘Birdie’ Bowers of the Antarctic

Like Seaver’s biography of Wilson, his fellow death-mate, this is a gentle hagiography of a devout Christian and a much-loved mate. On his training ship he would sit on the main deck every evening “before the whole ship’s company,” and read his Bible for a quarter of an hour (p. 22). I found nothing else about his reading during the Terra Nova expedition, but earlier he speaks of reading and thinking a lot in his spiritual quest (p. 40), of his prayer book, and his “violent attack of skepticism” from reading Darwin’s Descent of Man (p. 47), and this in Ceylon in 1909: “I have brought my Wordsworth up here and read it a bit in my room at night, keeping one eye aloft for spiders, one of which fell on me the other night” (p. 119). He was phobic about spiders.