Antarctic Obsession. A Personal Narrative of the Origins of the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904.


Markham was the President of the Royal Geographical Society, and this book is based on his manuscript journal in the SPRI collection where Holland was once Librarian. It is not only a personal narrative but a vituperative one; one wonders whether Markham ever intended publication. It’s a one-sided story in the first person singular describing the feud between the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society during the planning of the Discovery Expedition, a feud over who would control the expedition, whether Scott would be in complete control or whether he would turn command over to the scientists (represented by geologist John Walter Gregory) when ashore. Markham won the battle in backing his own choice (many would argue the wrong choice) in Robert Falcon Scott. There is another side of this story but it won’t be found here in this egocentric and self-justifying account by this authoritarian martinet.