True story of child abuse
This incredible little book may only take a day to read but the images, impressions and inspirational accounts of the polar explorers will remain with you. Henry Worsley was a retired British army officer who had served in the Special Air Service, he was a sculptor, boxer, photographer, horticulturist, devoted husband and father but above all a polar explorer who had as a young boy become obsessed with Ernest Shackleton. Although Shackleton never completed his journeys, he has become a legend, an example of courage and leadership that Henry, as a young army officer used as his leadership style with his first command.
You are drawn immediately into the drama and extreme conditions of travel in the Antarctic as David Grann describes Henry’s solo journey in the opening chapter. He travelled alone pulling a sled with food and equipment 800 miles through the most brutal environment in the world. He climbed the Titan Dome — 10,000ft high after crossing ice fields with hidden crevasses, sheltering for days during blizzards, whiteout conditions but still 200 miles to go. Just when history was within his grasp, he understood that not everything, least of all the Antarctic, can be conquered. Within defeat there can be the triumph of survival, so he chose his family over glory. Prior to his solo journey, in 2008 he set out across Antarctica with two other descendants of Shackleton’s crew, battling freezing desolate landscape and physical exhaustion to try to reach Shackleton’s furthest point on January 2009 exactly 100 years later.
Illustrated with more than 50 stunning photos from Worsley and Shackleton’s journeys, this is a book you will want to keep and share. The earlier expeditions by Scott, Amunsden and Shackleton are summarised brilliantly and offer new insights into these expeditions.
David Grann is a staff writer at the New Yorker and has written for the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. It is fascinating to read these accounts of battling the extreme conditions, the almost inhuman challenge of polar exploration but I am left wondering “why would you?”
— Rosie Sanderson
Innocence — a true story of a journey from darkness into light By Ludovic C M Romany, Cody Press Books, $34.99 .. .. .. .. .. ..
New Zealand’s record of abusing its children is appalling. On average one child is killed here every five weeks, most are under five and many under a year [Child Matters]. Most deaths are caused by someone the child knew. In just the last year, there were almost 14,000 substantiated findings of child abuse. So what happens to those children who survive?
Witere ‘Wi’ Peepe is one of them. The author recalls meeting him as a child ordered by his mother to beg for money in Rotorua. He meets him again decades later and has written his story. Wi’s father beats them, is permanently unemployed and a drunk with gang connections. He regularly sexually assaults his son and the family get respite only when he’s jailed for a road rage attack. Always hungry, abused by grandparents and most other relatives, he’s taught to shoplift, moves from place to place. The parents learned the violence from their own parents and Wi was destined to repeat the generational abuse. And for a time he does, until rehab and attention from those who understand his past put him onto a lawful, happier life. This is well written, complete with pencil drawings. It uncovers a nasty sore that many of us will hopefully never experience. And begs the question of what is being done to save these kids.
— Linda Thompson