We have gathered all the fantastic reviews our Book Club Members have sent us this month.

Click on each name to read the review. If you would like to become part of the Viking Book Club, sign up sign up here >>


Aidan Rose

This is the story of an epic expedition to cross Antarctica undertaken by two women, American Ann Bancroft and Norwegian Liv Arnesen. Impressively, their preparation included development of a school curriculum 'Dare to Dream' which was followed by three million children worldwide via the website It is significant that the journey was not fully completed. Although they did traverse the Antarctic land mass, winter closed in before they could cross the Ross ice shelf to reach their return boat from McMurdo station. They were picked up by a rescue flight. However, although initially personally disappointing to Ann and Liv, they came to realise that they had inspired so many children during the expedition, not by children reading about it afterwards. It wasn’t all easy, the book is very honest about the difficult communication issues between Liv, Ann and their backup team when Ann suffered a debilitating shoulder injury, but they came through. Truly, they had lived the dream and that was far more important than the accolades afterwards.

Martin Davies

This story of the first women to cross the Antarctic continent was originally published in 2003, but now carries an updated introduction by Cheryl Dahle and is well worthy of its re-print. It is a frank and fascinating account of a gruelling and dangerous expedition across 1700 miles of frozen wilderness. The two women used skiing, trekking and ice sailing to cross from Queen Maud Land via the South Pole to the Ross Ice Shelf between November 2000 and February 2001. But it is also much more than that, detailing all the complexities and challenges of funding and setting up such an expedition and celebrating how more than three million children were drawn into following it on-line. Just as important as achieving the crossing was inter-acting with as many children as possible and encouraging them, especially girls, to follow their dreams, break down gender stereotypes, help disadvantaged communities and protect our fragile planet. The two explorers have continued that work to this day, working with the Girl Scouts of the USA as well as schools across the globe, They remain intrepid adventurers but also drive global initiatives to promote clean and adequate water supplies.

Jane Chesterfield

Find a cosy corner – the library on a Viking Longship, perhaps, or your living room sofa – make a mug of hot chocolate and curl up to enjoy this engrossing book in one sitting. Then watch Anne Diamond’s entertaining chat with Liv and Ann on Viking TV, which confirms that both explorers are as engaging and inspirational as they appear in the book – apparently ordinary women whose achievements are anything but. As the expedition unfolds through the book, the viewpoints of Liv and Ann are skilfully interspersed so that we can share their feelings about the highs and lows of their journey. Details about the domestic practicalities as well as the travel technicalities bring the book to life. Images of the explorers munching their daily cans of crushed crisps, for example, or mapping their route on the tent roof, are vivid pictures the reader can recognise. The incredible challenges they conquered outside the tent, battling the weather and the terrain, have made them role models to youngsters worldwide, who feel empowered to follow their dreams because they’ve witnessed Ann and Liv fulfil theirs. I’m not brave enough to trek across Antarctica, but maybe my next Viking cruise will be somewhere cold…

Sue Garside

I did so want to enjoy reading this book having read widely about other female explorers such as Gertrude Bell and Freya Stark. I found it though a difficult book to persevere with at times, much like the ladies did on their expedition when the going got tough. The low moments for me overpowered the highs. Maybe it was because of the way the book is written,moving between three writers constantly. To me there was more time spent with details of planning rather than on the trek itself. There is no doubting their achievement and the way all obstacles they faced were overcome. Their physical and mental strengths are astounding. As is the inspiration they became to schoolchildren around the world ,showing them that dreams can be achieved if you try. Ann and Liv are the perfect role models to have been chosen as the Godmothers to Viking's two expedition ships and I salute them. Two female travel writers that I can recommend for future reading are Jan Morris (born James) who was on the first successful Everest climber and Dervla Murphy.

Christine Turley

This book follows the journey of Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen who succeeded in crossing Antarctica on foot in February 2001. The first women to do so, is an inspiration to budding explorers out there, that anything is possible if you work hard enough to follow your dreams. We follow their plans for the expedition , getting their teams together, and their supplies, which included website transmissions and satellite phone calls which enabled children from 65 countries to follow their progress throughout their journey. We learn how harsh the environment is. They walked, skied or ice sailed towing their heavy sledges which carried all their supplies for over three months, often for over seven hours a day in harsh sub-zero temperatures, with deadly hidden crevasses, and at the mercy of the weather. We also learn how important wind became whether they would fail or succeed. Well written in sections by both of them, describing their own personal emotions. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Lynne Morris

Thank you, Viking book club, for sending me this book. Wow what an inspirational book. From the first page I was hooked, author Cheryl Dahle a 28-year-old journalist who had never written a book and was chosen to write this book with explorers Liz Arnesen and Ann Bancroft on their expedition across Antarctica. The book goes into great detail of the dream to sail/ski unsupported across the most bleak, torrential dangerous yet beautiful landscape. How the dream turned into reality with a wonderful team on board to support them and what it took to raise funds to allow this expedition to happen. Each page made me feels as if I was on the journey with Ann and Liv and I can only imagine what the 3 million children from around the world that followed their journey on a daily basis must have experienced. It made me laugh and cry and filled me with huge admiration for both of them and the team. This wasn't just a journey for them to full fill their dream but to teach youngsters that no dream is too big. I really hope they make this story into a film; it would be brilliant.

Carol Goodwin

This was a fascinating read. Two amazing ladies, showing real determination and courage. Well written and informative as to just what they went through both in the planning and carry out of their expedition. Thanks Viking- its not a book i would probably have picked up had it not been sent to me- but well worth the reading!

Geoff Daniels

I would not have normally read about this subject, however the title and the historic journey the two women set out on was captivating. The book is well written as it does not just focus on the Antarctic expedition, but the enormous team effort, logistics and persuasion in getting to that point. Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft talk about how they pursued their dreams from young and gained recognition in a male orientated area, however this was not the overall objective of the expedition. Their journey, although not completed as planned, resulted in hope and inspiration to many children globally to make a difference in the world.

Graham Maslen

The nearest I have got to Antarctica is the town of Ushuaia, the southern most settlement in South America, just under 4,000 kilometres away or a 48 hour sea journey. Liv Arnesen, who was brought up immersed in outdoor skiing culture just outside Oslo, trekked solo and unsupported 1,200 kilometres to the South Pole in 1992. Ann Bancroft, fell in love with the wilderness, in her youth spent in Minnesota and Kenya, and led the first all female expedition to ski to the South Pole in 1992-93. They met in 1998 and spent the next two years planning an expedition to walk, ski and ski-sail all the way across the Antarctic continent. They were experienced both in the Antarctic and as expeditioners but this was still a tremendous challenge. The account of their journey was first published in 2003 and this is a new edition with an updated introduction by Cheryl Dahle who helped with the original book. Apart from Chapter One, which is an account of a particularly challenging time on the Shackleton glacier, this is a broadly chronological account of their journey. Each of the ten other chapters describe the journey, their experiences, challenges and triumphs. The interest is heightened by Liv and Ann describing what happened from their own perspectives, each recounting particular days or events, revealing their inner thoughts about the expedition, themselves and each other. Cheryl Dahle contributes occasional contextual sections. The achievement of these two women is attributable not only to their physical fitness and stamina but to their courage and resilience and the support of a great team. The impact of their expedition was magnified because it was reported through the print and broadcast media to 2.3 billion people. It was also followed by 3 million children in 65 countries, some of whom inspired Ann and Liv to keep going and many were themselves encouraged by Ann and Liv’s endeavours to pursue their own dreams. The global impact of their expedition is captured in contributions in the Epilogue. The title of their book is a quote from a pioneering female aviator. Having read it, the book reminded me of a quote from another female aviator, Emilia Earhart: "Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off! But if you don’t have one, realise it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.’"

Val Burgess

A very interesting read. We are taken through from when Ann and Liv were planning their adventure to when they arrive home at the end. We follow their struggles with funding, their idea to communicate with schoolchildren around the world during the trip and the many challenges they faced throughout the trek. The book is written in three voices: Ann, Liv and the writer who coordinates it, Cheryl. Reading of the physical challenge of pulling a sledge across Antarctica, along with the mental challenges faced , was quite mind blowing! These are two amazing women who are determined to succeed in what they set out to do. They have inspired young people too with their educational program which reached many schools around the world. Definitely worth reading.

Sue Oldland

Thank you for the review copy of this book. Once again it is something I would not necessarily have picked for myself but it is good to read outside my comfort zone. The book itself was very inspirational - the ladies captured the highs and lows so eloquently - you could feel the harshness of their surroundings. I will be passing this book to my young niece as I would like her to take the inspiration from it as well, a great account of what you can do if you believe in yourself.