In 1907 Sir Ernest Shackleton embarked on an expedition to reach the south pole; this is his account of the journey.
The events of the 1914 Endurance expedition have largely overshadowed the 1907 trip but this story is still well worth reading.
Two parties were involved, one to travel south and make for the south pole, and the other to travel north to reach the magnetic pole. The march to the magnetic pole was a success but the southern party (which included Shackleton himself)weren't so lucky. After marching for over two months, enduring hardships the reader can scarcely imagine, thay were forced to turn back within 100 miles of the pole, or risk missing the ship that was to return for them.
Shackleton's description of this journey is told in an almost off-hand manner, as though the amazing achievements of marching accross hundreds of miles of pack-ice and traversing a treacherous glacier are an everyday occurence. However, this is part of the charm of the book. Every now and then I would stop myself and think carefully about the story I was reading and the reality of the situations would sink in. Shackleton's matter-of-fact style of telling the story shows what a truly remarkable man he was. The eternal optimist, only when the situation became hopeless did he give up, and up until that point, failure didn't seem to be a consideration.
If I had one criticism of this book, it would be the need for more maps. Shackleton repeatedly refers to locations on the Antarctic continent but the map that is included in the book is not at all detailed. Many of the places mentioned don't appear on the map at all, So I found it difficult to apreciate the distances travelled by these men.
In spite of this, I feel this book fully deserves five stars. Shackleton manages to convey very well the difficulties involved in undertaking such an expedition and it served to increase the already large amount of respect I have for "history's greatest polar explorer".