This book tells the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his 31 shipmates who sailed the Endurance to the Antarctic in December 1914 in an attempt to land and then sledge across the continent. The ship got stuck in pack ice and they sat imprisoned in it till November 1915 when the pressure of the ice broke it apart. They then sat on an ice floe till April 1916 at which point the ice began to break apart and they climbed into 3 lifeboats and travelled to the nearest solid land, the uninhabited Elephant Island. Then Shackleton and five others climbed into another boat and travelled through the Southern Ocean seas to South Georgia. his was an astounding feat of navigation given that they only sighted the sun twice in four days and South Georgia is about the only landfall in one thousand miles. Even landing here was not the end because they landed on the uninhabited side; they then had to travel across the unmapped interior of South Georgia, over mountains and glaciers, to a whaling station which they reached in May 1916. This was STILL not the end because it then took Shackleton four months to organise a rescue boat for the 26 men left on Elephant Island who were finally rescued on August 30th 1916.
And no one died!!
This account was put together from the recollections and diaries of the men involved. The book includes stunning photographs from Frank Hurley who was a member of the expedition. It ends by telling of the lives of the men after their incredible survival, ranging from becoming a down and out in New Zealand to becoming Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town and another who was Master of St John's in Cambridge.
It is an astonishing story of almost unbelievable courage and fortitude under horrendous conditions and a thrilling read.
April 2009, 203 pages
- Having reviewed over 1100 books on this blog, I have now written one myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. It is available on Kindle through Amazon. Read it and find out whether this critic can write. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57