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"Nimrod": Ernest Shackleton and the Extraordinary Story of the 1907-09 British Antarctic Expedition [Hardcover]

Beau Riffenburgh
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Oct 2004
On New Year's Day 1908, the ship Nimrod set off for the mysterious regions of the Antarctic. The leader of the small expedition was Ernest Shackleton who, in the next year and a quarter would record some of the greatest achievements of his career and would then, together with his companions, return home as a hero. Shackleton and his party battled against extreme cold, hunger, danger and psychological trauma in their attempt to reach the South Pole and to return alive. They climbed the active volcano of Mount Erebus, planted the Union Jack at the previously unattained South Magnetic Pole, and struggled to within 97 miles of the South Geographic Pole. Beau Riffenburgh has written the definitive account of what Shackleton grandly called the British Antarctic Expedition. The story features an extraordinary cast of characters including Scott, Douglas Mawson, who would become one of the greatest Antarctic explorers, and the Antarctic pioneers Nansen and Amundsen. Nimrod is a story of an adventure which was a source of huge pride and fascination to both the leaders and subjects of the British Empire, and a journey almost too incredible even for Shackleton.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; 1st Edition edition (4 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747572542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747572541
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.4 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,085,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘Gripping … sumptuous’ -- Daily Telegraph

‘Masterful … moves with the speed of a novel … captures the essence of polar exploration and explorers’ -- Sir Ranulph Fiennes

‘Riffenburgh’s perceptive book blends first-hand accounts with original research and a fast-paced narrative, providing a cracking adventure’ -- Times Literary Supplement

‘The remarkable story of Shackleton’s greatest achievement has at last been told in Riffenburgh’s gripping and superbly researched Nimrod’ -- Max Jones, author of The Last Great Quest: Captain Scott’s Antarctic Sacrifice

‘The story of the expedition is retold with verve and pace’ -- Michael Binyon, The Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Beau Riffenburgh is an historian specialising in exploration, particularly that of the Antarctic, Arctic, and Africa. Born in California, he earned his doctorate at Cambridge University, following which he joined the staff at the Scott Polar Research Institute, where he is the editor of Polar Record. He is the author of the highly regarded The Myth of the Explorer and is currently serving as Editor of the Encyclopedia of the Antarctic.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good when it finally gets going! 10 Mar 2006
This book was much needed, but it doesn’t necessarily fill the gap it was meant to. Shackleton’s 1907-9 expedition was his only successful one, and has largely been overlooked in history.
I did worry when I read a big thank you to Roland Huntford in the opening pages. Huntford has made it his life’s purpose to denigrate Captain Scott and his otherwise excellent biography of Shackleton is partially spoilt by this. However, Riffenburgh seems to have done his own research and doesn’t jump to conclusions.
The title is a little misleading as the first half of the book is essentially a attempt to set the scene which turns into a biography on Shackleton up until 1907. All very well, but I bought the book knowing most of the background and wanted to read about the Nimrod expedition.
Once the book actually gets to its main subject, it is fast paced and exciting, examining closely the progress of the different arms of the expedition, including the achievements made by Mawson’s party in reaching the Magnetic South pole. The most amazing passage was McIntosh’s dangerous trek across Ross Island which gave an indication of his disregard for his own safety that would lead to his death on the Endurance/Aurora expedition in 1914/16.
Shackleton has been lionised at the expense of Scott in recent years, but it is true that he had a fair bit more luck than Scott did over the same route 3 years later. That said, the achievements of this expedition should not be overlooked. Shackleton blazed a trail to the Pole, gave lessons in leadership that are used today, and the expedition led to Mawson’s scientific discoveries in the following years.
This book is pretty good but Riffenburgh could have perhaps included more about its actual subject matter!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic story from the Golden Era of Exploration... 12 May 2013
By SMac
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Much has been written about Shackleton's Endurance voyage and while the tales of survival are of epic proportions in that story too, it only helps to overshadow the Nimrod expedition of 1907-1909. An expedition to the most hostile place on earth that found a bridge to the plateau via the Beardmore Glacier and a road to the greatest prize of that era. The South Pole. I first read this tale in the 1970's and was as enthralled by it now as I was then.

Well written and researched, I could not put the book down and read it in one sitting. If you want a book that takes you away from everyday life and places you at the mercy of mother-nature, then buy it today, great price and a great read...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, a must read. 11 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read this and find out how brilliant an explorer Shackleton was. He was a pioneer in difficult circumstances. Unecessary forlock-tugging to Scott potentially caused the failure to reach the pole. This book has all the details read it and enjoy.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A well-written and researched book about ground-breaking explorers to add to anyone's library of brave derring-do. Just the thing to read by the fireside during the winter.
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