South: The ENDURANCE Expedition Info

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In 1914, a party led by veteran explorer Sir Ernest
Shackleton sets out to become the first to traverse the continent of
Antarctica. Their initial optimism is short-lived, however, as the ice
field slowly thickens, encasing the ship Endurance in a death-grip,
crushing their craft, and marooning 28 men on a polar ice
floe...

In an epic struggle of man versus the elements,
Shackleton leads his team on a harrowing quest for survival over some of
the most unforgiving terrain in the world. Icy, tempestuous seas full
of gargantuan waves, mountainous glaciers and icebergs, unending brutal
cold, and ever-looming starvation are their mortal foes as Shackleton
and his men struggle to stay alive.
What happened to those brave
men forever stands as a testament to their strength of will and the
power of human endurance.
This is their story, as told by the man
who led them.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for South: The ENDURANCE Expedition:

5

Jul 23, 2019

This is a most first hand account of Shackleton and his last bid to cross the Antarctic. He had traveled in the ship he named the Endurance with 27 other men. Unfortunately, the ice froze him in.
With the explosive sounds and many leaks, the men knew the craft was doomed. Shackleton kept their minds and bodies in shape by keeping them busy unloading the vessel.
The book is made up of real entries into both the ship's log and individual journal entries. Before the boat sank, some photos were This is a most first hand account of Shackleton and his last bid to cross the Antarctic. He had traveled in the ship he named the Endurance with 27 other men. Unfortunately, the ice froze him in.
With the explosive sounds and many leaks, the men knew the craft was doomed. Shackleton kept their minds and bodies in shape by keeping them busy unloading the vessel.
The book is made up of real entries into both the ship's log and individual journal entries. Before the boat sank, some photos were saved. These are in the book. A sadder take could not be told. Young people stranded on the ice. No real land to be found. Many photos included n this book, one knows the people involved. Pictures taken by Frank Hurley.
The men were marooned on Elephant Island. There to wait their savior Shackleton, who tried to find help though WEI had already begun.
Fortunately, he had friends.
Many died waiting.
This is a highly recommended and MUST READ! ...more
5

Jun 15, 2015

Maps
Introduction
Preface

--South: The Endurance Expedition

Appendix I:
Scientific Work
Sea-Ice Nomenclature
Meteorology
Physics
South Atlantic Whales and Whaling

Appendix II:
The Expedition Huts at McMurdo Sound

Index
0

Feb 26, 2016

I doubt there could be a more real life example of the ‘What would you take to a desert island?’ than Shackleton’s trip to the Antarctic. There is an exhibition of the photographs of that trip on at the RGS in London at the moment. One of the photos shows a wall of books, his floating library. The RGS has been able to digitally enhance it, so that we now know exactly what Shackleton took on this unhappy expedition.

Can you judge a book by its cover?


Magazine correctly judged by cover (from The I doubt there could be a more real life example of the ‘What would you take to a desert island?’ than Shackleton’s trip to the Antarctic. There is an exhibition of the photographs of that trip on at the RGS in London at the moment. One of the photos shows a wall of books, his floating library. The RGS has been able to digitally enhance it, so that we now know exactly what Shackleton took on this unhappy expedition.

Can you judge a book by its cover?


Magazine correctly judged by cover (from The Onion)

The fact is that one often can. And taking that notion a little further, surely we can judge a man by the covers of his books. That’s something, with the advent of electronic book reading, that we will never be able to do again. It is so easy and cheap to download that one can never make assumptions about the relationship of the book to the machine owner. Here, however, of course we are entitled to draw conclusions. The man bothered to take the books to Antarctica. The books mean something.

I’ve arranged the list in order into:

literature
linguistic and general reference
exploration

Between the general reference section and the exploration books I’ve squeezed in two non-fiction books, one by the socialist JB Askew and one by Alfred Dreyfuss.

As for literature, it is interesting to note that it is relatively light on our notion of classics. Most of them are the best sellers or maybe, to convert to our idiom, the Goodreads trending books of his time. There are quite a few murder mysteries or similar.

I’m guessing that those reading this have never heard of:

Gertrude Atherton
Amelie Rives
Montague Glass
Ian Hey
AEW Mason
David Bone
Herbert Flowerdew
John Joy Bell
Louis Tracy
William J Locke
Rex Beach
Robert Hugh Benson
H De Vere Stacpoole

Yet Atherton was compared with Wharton, Rives was the EL James of her day, and William J Locke made the best selling US novels list in five different years. His stories were made into films 24 times, including Ladies in Lavender starring Dench and Maggie Smith in 2004 and four of his books made Broadway as plays. In fact, although not one of my 500+ goodreads friends has reviewed any of these authors, Locke is still well read and loved, judging by the reviews. I confess I did not know his name.

Potash and Perlmutter, the comic rag trade merchants of Monatague Glass, were all the rage amongst New York Jews. Stacpoole is the author of The Blue Lagoon of the film fame (some would say infamy) and Flowerdew used his novels to proselytise on the rights of women:

rest here:

https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpre... ...more
3

Apr 24, 2014

First it was cold. And then it got really cold. And we're hungry. And it' cold and we're hungry. And phewy, it's really freaking cold. We don't have a whole lot to eat, either. Brrrrrrrrrrrr. Ice. Seals. Cold. Es muy frio. Teeth chattering. Chewing on blubber. Blubber fires. Shivering. Need more food. Did I mention it's cold? Seriously, I'm really cold. Frostbite. Shoulda worn another sweater. Shoulda brought an extra pair of gloves. Shoulda brought some extra cans of Pringles. I could really go First it was cold. And then it got really cold. And we're hungry. And it' cold and we're hungry. And phewy, it's really freaking cold. We don't have a whole lot to eat, either. Brrrrrrrrrrrr. Ice. Seals. Cold. Es muy frio. Teeth chattering. Chewing on blubber. Blubber fires. Shivering. Need more food. Did I mention it's cold? Seriously, I'm really cold. Frostbite. Shoulda worn another sweater. Shoulda brought an extra pair of gloves. Shoulda brought some extra cans of Pringles. I could really go for a beefsteak or some Twinkies. Wind! Cold! Ice! Frigid! Awful, terrible, no good, very bad, arctic weather! Cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and cold and hungry and did I mention cold? It's really COLD! ...more
2

Feb 17, 2013

This is an astonishing story of courage, determination, leadership and survival. It's amazing such a story as this is true, but the book gets quite boring in parts.
4

Oct 05, 2015

Prior to reading Sir Ernest Shakelton’s harrowing voyage aboard the Endurance I knew few facts other than he obviously survived to pen his memoir.

The expedition to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent from sea to sea over roughly 1,800 miles by way of the South Pole. Planning for the mission began in 1913 and when World War I erupted the scientific voyage was not canceled. It’s historic that on August 4, 1914 King George V kept his appointment to meet with Shakelton and give him the Prior to reading Sir Ernest Shakelton’s harrowing voyage aboard the Endurance I knew few facts other than he obviously survived to pen his memoir.

The expedition to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent from sea to sea over roughly 1,800 miles by way of the South Pole. Planning for the mission began in 1913 and when World War I erupted the scientific voyage was not canceled. It’s historic that on August 4, 1914 King George V kept his appointment to meet with Shakelton and give him the Union Jack flag to prominently display on his trip. Later on the same day Great Britain declared war against the Central Powers and entered the Great War. For many WWI was the great adventure however on August 8th the Endurance departed England and the rugged scientific crew, full of mixed emotions were off on their own unique adventure. The ship was loaded with many provisions along with teams of sled dogs, which set a suspenseful atmosphere similar to a Jack London novel.

Along the way forced implementation of contingency plans became a reality and similar to the youth fighting continents away in WWI the biologists had to deal with their own do or die basic survival instincts. The details will be left for the reader to comprehend. Throughout the ordeal Shakelton and his men provided leadership skills and maintained a clam positive attitude. When the crew finally reconnected with society they were amazed the World War was still raging. Due to their eventual location many teamed up with the New Zealand Field Forces.

The book serves as a great testament to the willpower of mankind. Faced with failure, accomplishments surfaced.
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3

Oct 30, 2011

Despite sitting here in October whining to myself about my cold fingers while typing, I have to admit I've got kind of a thing for grueling polar expeditions and the occasional 19th century disastrous sea voyage. I especially have a thing for Mr. Shackleton, the great heroic failure of the Edwardian era. (Not my words, but I don't recall who said them — someone on NPR, I expect).

This book is the detailed accounts of Shackleton's last Antarctic journey. He takes a crew on the Endurance to the Despite sitting here in October whining to myself about my cold fingers while typing, I have to admit I've got kind of a thing for grueling polar expeditions and the occasional 19th century disastrous sea voyage. I especially have a thing for Mr. Shackleton, the great heroic failure of the Edwardian era. (Not my words, but I don't recall who said them — someone on NPR, I expect).

This book is the detailed accounts of Shackleton's last Antarctic journey. He takes a crew on the Endurance to the Weddell Sea on the South American side of the South Pole, while another crew heads to the Australia side. The plan is for the Australia-side crew to set a series of food and supply depots from the coast to the center of the continent and then retreat, while Shackleton and his crew make their way, by dog- and man-power to the South Pole, and then continue clear across the continent, picking up the pre-laid supplies along the way. Only, as you may know, both teams encounter unbelievable set backs and, well, it all does not work out. And everyone is very cold.

This book is mostly Shackleton reconstructing events from his own logs, and, for the parts where he wasn't there, fromt he journals of his crewmates. He never boasts or makes any of the bravery he exhibited seem like it's anything more than the least he could have done in the circumstances. His telling is, for the most part, calm, detailed and almost scientific in it's rigor (with frequent mentions of exact longitudes and latitudes, weather specifics, animal species sited and ice conditions), but here and there he'll relate long hours of contemplation where he ponders the best thing to do for the men. His decisions are always made for their welfare and, at least as he tells it, favoritism or self-interest never enter into the equation.

Beyond the sheer "adventure" facet, the truly remarkable aspect of the story — why it is so frequently remembered and retold still — is Shackleton's leadership. Despite preposterous odds and the most treacherous of circumstances, he managed to return the entire crew of the Endurance to safety with only a touch of frostbite, after 3 years cut off from the world in Antarctica. And they all, according to the diaries Sir Ernest excerpts in his own book, kept relatively cheery and grateful for him the whole time.

I'm not one of those "leadership" people, who raves on about leadership, in the business sense. Yeah, sure, it's important to have someone competent and inspiring and visionary making big decisions and guiding the works, but I'm not going around yapping about it all the time and pillaging the "leadership and management" section at the bookstore. But I do think this book said something big to me about leadership — about the importance of keeping your cool (no pun intended) and being at once in the trenches doing the dirty work along with everyone else and also able to step back and see the big picture and make the hard decisions. And that people can band together and remain positive in the absolute suckiest of circumstances with the right role models...

Tangentially, here is huge irony with the fact that this voyage took place as WWI broke out — indeed, the Endurance left England the same week (sanctioned by King). Many of the men who Shackleton saved from the horrors of ice, the polar seas in rowboats and foodlessness came back to get promptly mowed down in the trenches of Europe.

Also, tangentially: Frank Hurley, the photographer on the Endurance made some of the most amazing photographs and movie reels in the history of photography (and the fact that they got back to civilization in tact is unbelievable — fragile glass plates and such). He was one of the first people to experiment with early color photographs. They're extremely beautiful and it's quite haunting, really, to see these men, in 1914, in color, in the ice. Edwardian color photography has become a new obsession of mine, really...

In summary, it's a dry read, to be sure, but fascinating, nonetheless.
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4

Apr 24, 2015

Extremely interesting and riveting in places even knowing how it all turned out.

Available at:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5199
https://librivox.org/south-by-ernest-...
4

Jul 21, 2018

Having read Endurance last month, I so appreciated Mallory's recommendation to follow up with Shackleton's own account! I'm glad I read them in this order, as the former read more as a novel, giving a better description of the cast of characters and was organized in a more dramatic fashion. Shackleton, on the other hand, preferred to give away the ending! This first hand account was absolutely enchanting. His descriptions of the phenomena and experiences in the Antarctic were vivid, and the Having read Endurance last month, I so appreciated Mallory's recommendation to follow up with Shackleton's own account! I'm glad I read them in this order, as the former read more as a novel, giving a better description of the cast of characters and was organized in a more dramatic fashion. Shackleton, on the other hand, preferred to give away the ending! This first hand account was absolutely enchanting. His descriptions of the phenomena and experiences in the Antarctic were vivid, and the personal insights into their unlikely survival were inspiring. I especially enjoyed the scientific reports in the appendices! I highly recommend this as a follow up to Endurance. ...more
5

Mar 02, 2013

I had a really hard time getting into the "floe" of this book. See what I did there? No, seriously, Shackleton's writing is very clinical and matter of fact. Recording every day, watching the ice, food stores, lat and long, temperature...etc...for what seems like an eternity. With no drama or embellishment, which as an avid reader, I love. However, this book at its start was dry. That is the truth. You know what else is the truth? This story. All of it. 100% fact. You can know that going in, and I had a really hard time getting into the "floe" of this book. See what I did there? No, seriously, Shackleton's writing is very clinical and matter of fact. Recording every day, watching the ice, food stores, lat and long, temperature...etc...for what seems like an eternity. With no drama or embellishment, which as an avid reader, I love. However, this book at its start was dry. That is the truth. You know what else is the truth? This story. All of it. 100% fact. You can know that going in, and think, huh, people going to the south pole in 1914...yadda yadda. That is until you actually read it. And read every moment of the craziest expedition, tragedy, comedy, suffering, hopelessness and then relief. The explorers in this period were amazing. The things they did, lived through, and experienced with little or no more than a "aw shucks" can-do attitude is breathtaking. This story is harrowing, and wonderful. The Endurance story, the Ross Sea Party story, the Aurora drift, all of it, simply amazing. You think you are cold? You think you are hungry? You think maybe you are bored? Read this book, it will blow you away.
Last note, on top of all the craziness that is traveling to the South Pole by boat and not returning for a couple of years, the end, where Shackleton mentions that EVERY person in the account who did not DIE on the ice went straight into WORLD WAR 1. Boom. That's being Shackleton tough. ...more
5

May 28, 2012

Back when men were men. At the outbreak of WWI Shackleton had outfitted two ships and crews to try a continental crossing of the Antarctic. He offered to halt the expedition but was ordered to continue by Winston Churchill. Famously, the crossing never took place. What did happen was an increasingly desperate fight to survive by the two ship's crews on opposite sides of the polar continent.

The book is largely made up of extracts from Shackleton's own diary and the diaries of some of the other Back when men were men. At the outbreak of WWI Shackleton had outfitted two ships and crews to try a continental crossing of the Antarctic. He offered to halt the expedition but was ordered to continue by Winston Churchill. Famously, the crossing never took place. What did happen was an increasingly desperate fight to survive by the two ship's crews on opposite sides of the polar continent.

The book is largely made up of extracts from Shackleton's own diary and the diaries of some of the other expedition members, worked together into a strongly coherent narrative. Shackleton charts the problems faced by his (the Weddell Sea) side of the expedition. His ship, the Endurance, became stuck in sea ice in January 1915 where it drifted slowly across the Weddell Sea until it was crushed and sank in November of the same year. Shackleton's crew camped on the moving ice until April of 1916 when their ice floe broke apart and they were forced into the salvaged ship's boats to make a harrowing five day sea voyage to the dry land of Elephant Island.

Shackleton exhibits huge compassion for the suffering of his men. The rationing, the constant extreme cold and atrocious weather, the poor rations (including periods where the men were doing the backbreaking work of hauling sledges, after the deaths of the dogs, on rations of a single biscuit and a mug of cocoa a day), frostbite, boredom, ennui, scurvy, snow-blindness, exhaustion - the range of problems thrown against the men seems almost insurmountable, and yet, through it all, Shackleton keeps his group together working hard for each other's survival.

Parts of the tale are so epically British that you can't help but feel a swell of pride for a nation that produced men like these. "The Endurance sank, but we saved the pennant of the Royal Yacht Club." Signs are important of course, and when throwing away almost of of their personal possessions after the sinking, Shackleton knew the importance of keeping just a few items, the pennant, an encyclopaedia, the men's pipes, that would remain as a tiny measure of normality and home comfort in the dark days ahead.

When everything seemed almost lost at the Elephant Island camp, with some of the men finally submitting to the throes of depression, Shackleton and a volunteer crew launched the ship's boat, the James Caird, a vessel slightly larger than a sailing dinghy and sailed 800 miles to South Georgia, arriving there due to the excellent navigational skills of the Endurance's captain Frank Worsely. This voyage alone, through freezing, storm swept, mountainous souther ocean, would be enough for a heroic survival story, and upon landing on the wrong side of South Georgia the men still have to make a long and dangerous march in order to reach the whaling station and raise help.

The conditions faced by the crew of the Aurora across the continent in the Ross Sea were no less incredible. The crew here followed in the tracks of Captain Scott, laying food and fuel depots for Shackleton's party to find as they crossed the continent. The Aurora was ripped from its moorings and drifted, badly damaged, until the crew nursed it to New Zealand. As Shackleton was organising the rescue for the Elephant Island team, so the Aurora's crew organised a rescue for their comrades on the ice near Ross Island.

South is a tremendous tale of survival against the odds, of what people can do when faced with extremis, when lying down and giving up would have been far easier than struggling on, for day after day, month after month. It is an inspiring read, uplifting in its own way, and illuminates well how these men were the products of the era they lived in - after being rescued every man fit to serve signed up for military service in WWI.


South is currently available for free download from Amazon. ...more
5

May 15, 2012

I read this casually, a little at a time. It's one of the great adventure stories of all time, and smashing stuff (get it?) but...here's how it works: it's based on the journals of Shackleton and everyone else in his party - he gives others lots of time too - and the entries can be a little repetitious. Like, y'know, "Still stuck on an iceberg. Cold and hungry."

Shackleton's a surprisingly good writer, though. Clear, engaging and often funny. That livens up the doldrum periods - but also, the I read this casually, a little at a time. It's one of the great adventure stories of all time, and smashing stuff (get it?) but...here's how it works: it's based on the journals of Shackleton and everyone else in his party - he gives others lots of time too - and the entries can be a little repetitious. Like, y'know, "Still stuck on an iceberg. Cold and hungry."

Shackleton's a surprisingly good writer, though. Clear, engaging and often funny. That livens up the doldrum periods - but also, the effect of the long passages in which nothing dramatic happens is that when something does happen, it happens with extraordinary, direct impact. His account of - minor spoiler, I guess? - the final destruction of the Endurance is just crushing. An incredibly powerful moment. The immediacy of the epistolaryish format, with its you-are-here feel, makes the big moments of the expedition directly heartbreaking.

After his account of the main expedition, he starts completely over with what happened with the other boat, the Aurora. (You will have forgotten they exist by this time.) This is a tough one: it's just as compelling a story - they actually had it worse, if you can believe that, and again it's based on journals so it has that you're-right-there! feel to it, but there's no avoiding the fact that, having slogged all the way through Shackleton's brutal story, you groan a little when you realize you're about to start over.

I guess I'd suggest laying it aside and picking it up later for this part. It is much shorter, at least. And it's much shorter even than it looks, because after the story of the Aurora's landing party (again, this really is great stuff on its own), Shackleton backtracks again, to the people who stayed on the Aurora, and that part is utterly skippable. Nothing whatsoever happens. I read it so you don't have to. Just stop there. ...more
5

Nov 29, 2018

I love reading about Polar explores and this book just blew me away. This book was Ernest Shackelton’s journal of the Endurance Expidition and his participation of trying to save the crew of another boat called the Aurora.

Some of the stand out members of the expedition were Named Wild and Creen.

This was one of those books that I wanted to finish in one sitting. But work got in the way.

I could keep going on about how great this book is, but you must experience it for yourself.
5

Aug 31, 2018

"Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all." -Ernest Shackleton
4

Nov 15, 2011

"For knowledge and erudition, give me Scott. For expeditionary and exploration prowess, take Peary. But if disaster strikes, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton!"
4

Jan 07, 2018

What an incredible story!! The ability to survive in such an environment is quite incredible, esp considering this was over 100 years ago now. Written by Shackleton himself you can tell he is an explorer (this won’t win any writing awards) but is fairly accessible and easy to follow. And there are parts that are so incredible you just want to get to the end of the chapter. And it’s free on kindle.
5

Dec 05, 2017

"I had a bad attack of snow-blindness and had to use cocaine. Hayward also had a bad time. I was laid up and had to keep my eyes bandaged for three days." They don't make adventurers like this anymore. It was epic stuff all the way. Shackleton, if anything, played down how hard it was. As someone who has tried to sleep in a soaking wet sleeping bag, I am awestruck how they survived that in Antartic conditions. A great read.

5

Jan 23, 2011

Read this one while you're hating how freaking cold out it is!! It's been a while since I read this, but if I remember correctly, it's all taken from the journals of the men on the expedition. There's a lot of stuff about lattitude and longitude, and 5000 different ways to describe cold and snow and ice! You may find that you want to skim over some of the more "scientific" stuff and just get to the good parts! You know: the frostbite, and the starvation, and the penguin poo! This book will make Read this one while you're hating how freaking cold out it is!! It's been a while since I read this, but if I remember correctly, it's all taken from the journals of the men on the expedition. There's a lot of stuff about lattitude and longitude, and 5000 different ways to describe cold and snow and ice! You may find that you want to skim over some of the more "scientific" stuff and just get to the good parts! You know: the frostbite, and the starvation, and the penguin poo! This book will make you feel like a complete and total wimp next time you need to scrape ice off the windshield, but you forgot your gloves and your fingers are getting a little cold! ...more
3

Aug 31, 2013

If you're familiar with Shackleton's story, you likely want to read this just for the sake of completion. Just know that it's not going to be the page-turner you would have hoped for. For anyone unfamiliar with Shackleton's story and curious to learn more, I'd recommend you start with another source.

The subject matter is fascinating yet Shackleton's writing lacks emotion. He was obviously writing this for his contemporaries to prove that his expedition had not been a complete failure. He rightly If you're familiar with Shackleton's story, you likely want to read this just for the sake of completion. Just know that it's not going to be the page-turner you would have hoped for. For anyone unfamiliar with Shackleton's story and curious to learn more, I'd recommend you start with another source.

The subject matter is fascinating yet Shackleton's writing lacks emotion. He was obviously writing this for his contemporaries to prove that his expedition had not been a complete failure. He rightly emphasizes that scientific knowledge was expanded. (It's sad really that scientific exploration alone couldn't have been their goal with less emphasis originally placed on the glory of reaching an arbitrary goal of crossing the continent before anyone else.) But in writing with this audience in mind, Shackleton glosses over some of the conflicts that I think modern audiences would be more interested in reading about. He also has this odd ability to describe amazing life-and-death moments in such a dry way that they don't feel nearly as exciting as they must have actually been.

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2

Jun 26, 2010

This book was very slow paced and detailed, and took me a long time to read, especially the first third. The story was amazing, but I can’t decide if they were amazingly brave and perseverant, or just a bit stupid. Not their survival, but putting themselves at such risk in the first place. When they ended up stranded, no one seemed remotely surprised.

The person who recommended this book to me mentioned looking at leadership traits, so I was thinking about that as I read this book.

Team building: This book was very slow paced and detailed, and took me a long time to read, especially the first third. The story was amazing, but I can’t decide if they were amazingly brave and perseverant, or just a bit stupid. Not their survival, but putting themselves at such risk in the first place. When they ended up stranded, no one seemed remotely surprised.

The person who recommended this book to me mentioned looking at leadership traits, so I was thinking about that as I read this book.

Team building:
He was constantly thinking about his men, and how to keep their spirits up, and how to keep them working together as a team.

Perseverance:
Of course they did everything to survive as they struggled together, but I especially liked how Shackleton kept trying to rescue his men after he made it to civilization in South Georgia. He knew his men would die if they waited until the “right” ship was available. He kept scouring his resources, trying everything he could. Three attempts failed. The ship with which he finally rescued them could not even get near the ice floe, luckily, finally, for a short time, the island wasn’t surrounded by it; he could get in and rescue them.

Sacrifice:
He never asked his crew to do anything he wasn’t willing to do. He placed himself when possible between his men and the danger. For example, when they camped on a beach he made sure he was closest to the water, so when the waves encroached on the camp, he was the first one drenched, he was able to wake everyone up and move the camp.

Another thing I learned is that humans can survive the most horrific conditions. Cold, frostbite, starvation, scurvy, chafing and infections, grease, soot and constant filth. The story of their survival is incredible, it was definitely worth reading.
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4

Jul 26, 2011

Most certainly, as exploration adventure survival stories go, Shackleton's 'South' has to be in the premier league. My copy in the Penquin Classics series, (which contains those excellent black and white photographs of Frank Hurley's), originally published from Shackleton's memoirs/logs from the Endurance expedition in 1919.
If ever a ship was more aptly named! Of course, this epic tale has been re-told in other books and on film. Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914 expedition was to be a Most certainly, as exploration adventure survival stories go, Shackleton's 'South' has to be in the premier league. My copy in the Penquin Classics series, (which contains those excellent black and white photographs of Frank Hurley's), originally published from Shackleton's memoirs/logs from the Endurance expedition in 1919.
If ever a ship was more aptly named! Of course, this epic tale has been re-told in other books and on film. Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914 expedition was to be a Trans-Antarctic first, to cross the great continent from the Weddell Sea to the pole and then on to Scott's old base at Cape Evans on the Ross Sea coast. However the Antarctic pack ice had other ideas. The Endurance was crushed to death in 1915, forcing the marooned explorers to float on ice floes and eventually sail their three 'life boats' to the uninhabited terra firma of Elephant Island. To extricate his men, and facilitate their rescue Shackleton and five others then sail in one tiny boat across the South Atlantic Ocean to South Georgia Island. Only for the great man and two others to be forced to traverse across mountainous terrain in order to reach the whaling station at Stromness. Rescue was facilitated without a single loss of his party, except for Blackborrow's five frostbitten toes. (I have read that this man was a stowaway when Endurance left South America, but Shackleton makes no mention of this.)
What is not often recounted in this epic is the depot laying expedition of the Cape Evans party (who lost three men) in similar heroic circumstances to Scott's march, and avoided the same fate by the narrowest of margins. Also the account of the Ross Sea expedition ship Aurora, that battled with the pack ice and could easily have ended up with it's demise just like the Endurance. I was amazed to read of the Aurora's problems with it's 1915 telegraphic equipment, being unable to transmit at sufficient power due to ice on it's aerial insulation. Sixty years later I had the same problems on a ship in the arctic!
Also included in this splendid edition are the Appendices. Scientific Work by J.M.Wordie; Meteorology by L.D.A. Hussey; Physics by R.W.James; South Atlantic Whales and Whaling by Robert S.Clark, he writes "The vigorous slaughter of whales both in the sub-Antarctic and in the sub-tropics, for the one area reacts on the other, calls for universal legislation to protect the whales from early commercial extinction." This man's voice was almost fifty years before the birth of environmentalism in the 1960's. ...more
5

Jan 22, 2011

Quite simply awesome. And I don't use the word lightly, considering it is very much an overused word. Ernest Shackleton was a hero not only because of what he endured, but because of how he led. As opposed to Robert Scott who made a series of errors (as well as experiencing some genuine bad luck with inclement weather) culminating in disaster in 1912, Shackleton's primary concern above all aspects of his mission were the men under his command. In 1908 - on his earlier 'farthest south' Quite simply awesome. And I don't use the word lightly, considering it is very much an overused word. Ernest Shackleton was a hero not only because of what he endured, but because of how he led. As opposed to Robert Scott who made a series of errors (as well as experiencing some genuine bad luck with inclement weather) culminating in disaster in 1912, Shackleton's primary concern above all aspects of his mission were the men under his command. In 1908 - on his earlier 'farthest south' expedition, he turned himself and his men around when within reach of the elusive Pole. He had realised that due to depleted rations and muscles, in the face of extremely adverse weather, if they attained their stated aim of the Pole, they would not return alive. As it was, he had to be hauled on a sledge for the last slog by his two exhausted team-mates, as he was too weakened to carry on unaided...

This book tells the almost incredible tale of how his 1914 expedition failed early in its stated aims, but ultimately triumphed against a series of truly fearsome circumstances in the most inhospitable place on earth. Survival on the ice after the crushing destruction of their ship the Endurance, followed by the break-up of the ice and the harrowing escape over the ice floes into the open waters on board the Endurance's 3 lifeboats until the sanctuary of the bleak Elephant Island. Here is where the story begins anew as 'Uncle' Shackleton and 5 men depart for help leaving behind the remaining expedition team on the remote barren island with a protective shelter of 2 upturned lifeboats and a veneer of sealskins, and a diet consisting of pemmican hoosh, ship biscuit, seal blubber and seal meat when that could be hunted...

If all this hadn't been enough, the rescue party then attempts the crossing of the extreme South Atlantic (acknowledged as arguably the most treacherous open sea on the planet) in the remainng lifeboat - the James Caird. All the while Shackleton keeps his men going with his leadership skills and navigational expertise. His fellow rescue party undoubtedly play their part too in performing this miracle of marine adventure. Several hundred miles away their destination - South Georgia - is found. The journey is not yet over though as Shackleton and 2 others must traverse the unmapped mountainous spine of the island to the relative 'civilisation' of the remote whaling station at Grytviken. This final task proves almost the most dangerous...

The fact that Shackleton's team makes it to safety and in turn returns to Elephant Island to rescue the stranded expedition (by now clearly on the verge of madness and possible cannibalism) - without a single lost soul speaks volumes for his leadership capabilities and also for this generation's incredible resilience in the face of adversity in what Shackleton called 'the White War'. The tale is all the more powerful in the knowledge that many of the brave men on return to a Europe at war in 1916 must tragically go to battle again, and that so many fall in those foreign fields.

One of the most inspiring and exhillirating books you will ever read. ...more
4

May 24, 2019

A fascinating read. A great level of detailed has been paid, painting a picture of every step of this expedition and the dire turn it took right from the start. A true telling of a dedicated team of comrades fighting for survival in a frozen wasteland, hidden moments of wonder and demonstrating the sacrfice and adaptability humans are capable of.
4

Aug 03, 2019

A fascinating read about Shackleton's attempt to cross the Antarctic by land. Surprisingly humorous at points, an excellent good read about human endurance in the face of overwhelming adversity.
5

May 21, 2019

I really got sucked into this book. It's (barely) adapted from Shackleton's journal, so much of it is the day-to-day tedium of just walking, cooking, and trying to survive. I was captivated, it's some of the best descriptions of the limits of human endurance I've ever read.

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