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The Heart of the Antarctic Paperback – 6 Jan 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: General Books LLC (6 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1154262227
  • ISBN-13: 978-1154262223
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 0.8 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,938,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"The book will take its place among the great records of adventure ... Shackleton has just the right combination of scientific interests and love of reckless adventure." -- The New York Times Book Review --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Singlespeeder on 28 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
As 'adventure travel' writing hits the big time this example of the genre from almost a century ago shows how it really should be done.
This is a fascinating account of Shackletons 1907 expedition to the Antartic. What he achieved is all the more remarkable as you consider the equipment at his disposal.
While there are lots of supplementary details about the year-long expedition the core of it is of course the journal of the trip to Furthest South. This is a Boys Own tale of hardship that both inspires and shocks. Hard facts about the hardship and travails will leave one aghast. Shackleton is revealed to be a true leader of men, an incredible optimist, but also most importantly a realist.
Sadly Shackleton will always play second fiddle in the public eye to Scott, because he had the sense not to die for vainglory. Heroic deaths are newsworthy, timely survival is not.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
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".
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. Whiteside TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 July 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I guess that if you are reading this review you must be thinking about purchasing the book. Well, my advice is to buy it.

Ernest Shackleton is a true legend of Antarctica, even though it is his dices with death that created his legend. This is his own account of his journey to the Antarctic in 1907 and it is an honest and at times desperate tale. True stories always have more of an impact and this one doesn't disappoint.

At times the narrative does drag a little, especially when Shackleton devotes time to what was taken on board the Nimrod. The story really kicks on when the trek to the South Pole gets under way.

Gradually, you can feel the anguish as Shackleton realizes that his crew aren't going to make it. Just less than 100 miles short of the pole, he made the only decision he could make in reality. Turn back and possibly live, or carry on and certainly die. Not a decision many of us have ever had to make with history within his grasp.

One feeling throughout the narrative is the feeling of hunger he and his crew felt. This seemed to be the one factor that hurt them more than tiredness, the freezing cold or the feeling of failure. They all made it back, he returned to the Antarctic again, and the tale of 'Endurance' was born (another excellent book by the way).

Read this book and stick with it. Yes, it can drag a bit and it is long at 400 pages. But it is people like Ernest Shackleton that have made stories like this possible. Recommended.
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By John Brain on 3 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ernest Shackleton wrote this book on his return from his Nimrod expedition to Antarctica in 1909. His disappointment at being invalided home from Scott's earlier Discovery expedition, goaded him on to organise this truly heroic exploit. The book not only contains his own story of the party of men who discovered the Beardmore glacier and reached a furthest point south, (a 4 month march of 1755 miles) but also that of the men who made the first climb of the volcano Mount Erebus,(13,370ft) as well as those who were the first to reach the magnetic south pole (- a march of 1260 miles). And all achieved by men in sub-zero temperatures and body-piercing blizzards, who largely sledge-hauled their own food and equipment. And not content with these goals, they mapped the terrain, they meticulously measured temperature, wind-force and magnetic variation, collected geological specimens, photographed their surroundings and returned home with a rich heritage of scientific achievement.

The book shows Shackleton not only to have been a magnificent leader of men, but also a superb organiser and brave beyond compare. Not only that, but he writes beautifully. His description of events is meticulous. His perceptive accounts of what men went through to achieve their hard won goals is first-rate. And the humility revealed by his constant understatement of his own achievements, which can only be viewed as momentous, is truly humbling.

He was a man who must have been a privilege to know, and we are so lucky that we have his first-hand account of the historic events which he himself caused to happen.
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