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cerberus
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PostSubject: the most sustained attack   Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:54 pm

Scott's reputation survived the period after World War II, beyond the 50th anniversary of his death.[97] In 1966, Reginald Pound, the first biographer given access to Scott's original sledging journal, revealed personal failings which cast a new light on Scott,[97] although Pound continued to endorse his heroism, writing of "a splendid sanity that would not be subdued".[98] Within the following decade, further books appeared, each of which to some degree challenged the prevailing public perception. The most critical of these was David Thomson's Scott's Men (1977); in Thomson's view, Scott was not a great man, "at least, not until near the end";[99] his planning is described as "haphazard" and "flawed",[100] his leadership characterized by lack of foresight.[101] Thus by the late 1970s, in Jones's words, "Scott's complex personality had been revealed and his methods questioned".[97]
Three figures are depicted in coloured glass, standing by a cairn of snow topped by a large cross. The scene is framed by a decorative arch.
Memorial window in Binton Church, Warwickshire, one of four panels. This one depicts the cairn erected over the site of Scott's last tent.

In 1979 came the most sustained attack on Scott, from Roland Huntford's dual biography Scott and Amundsen in which Scott is depicted as a "heroic bungler".[102] Huntford's thesis had an immediate impact, becoming the new orthodoxy.[103] Even Scott's heroism in the face of death is challenged; Huntford sees Scott's Message to the Public as a deceitful self-justification from a man who had led his comrades to their deaths.[97] After Huntford's book, debunking Captain Scott became commonplace; Francis Spufford, in a 1996 history not wholly antagonistic to Scott, refers to "devastating evidence of bungling",[104] concluding that "Scott doomed his companions, then covered his tracks with rhetoric".[105] Travel writer Paul Theroux summarised Scott as "confused and demoralised ... an enigma to his men, unprepared and a bungler".[106] This decline in Scott's reputation was accompanied by a corresponding rise in that of his erstwhile rival Shackleton, at first in the United States but eventually in Britain as well.[107] A 2002 nationwide poll in the United Kingdom to discover the "100 Greatest Britons" showed Shackleton in eleventh place, Scott well down the list at 54th.



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