Mischief among the Penguins, by H. W. Tilman. London: Rupert Hart- Davis, 1961. 192 pages. Price 21s.
This is primarily the tale of an eleven months’ voyage to the Southern Ocean by six men in a 45-foot sail boat. The objective of this saga is mountain climbing on the incredibly inhospitable Crozet and Kerguelen Islands, equally far from Cape Town and Australia, and south of the "Roaring Forties.” The closest land is the coast of Antarctica, 1200 miles further south from this area of fog and storm.
The story is told with a British reserve which makes the difficulties and discomforts seem trivial, and the dry humor will be a delight to anyone who has in fact or fancy coped with the problems of skippering a crew out of sight of land. The actual climbing would seem to be a disappointing anticlimax to any but the most philosophical, but throughout the book it is very evident that the author is a most philosophical person.
Waldo H. Holcombe