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Shackleton [Paperback]

Roland Huntford
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
RRP: 15.99
Price: 12.79 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

21 Sep 1989
Ernest Shackleton was the quintessential Edwardian hero. A contemporary - and adversary - of Scott, he sailed on the 'Discovery' expedition of 1900, and went on to mount three expeditions of his own. Like Scott, he was a social adventurer; snow and ice held no particular attraction, but the pursuit of wealth, fame and power did. Yet Shackleton, and Anglo-Irishman who left school at 16, needed status to raise money for his own expeditions. At various times he was involved in journalism, politics, manufacturing and City fortune-hunting - none of them very effectively. A frustrated poet, he was never to be successful with money, but he did succeed in marrying it. At his height he was feted as a national hero, knighted by Edward VII, and granted £20,000 by the government for achievements which were, and remain, the very stuff of legend. But the world to which he returned in 1917 after the sensational 'Endurance' expedition did not seem to welcome surviving heroes. Poverty-stricken by the end of the war, he had to pay off his debts through writing and endless lecturing. He finally obtained funds for another expedition, but dies of a heart attack, aged only 47, at it reached South Georgia.

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Shackleton + Scott And Amundsen: The Last Place on Earth + Captain Scott
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Product details

  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (21 Sep 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349107440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349107448
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This is an utterly absorbing biography ... moves one to tears of relief, joy and blind wonder (Allan Massie)

Expertly handled and written ... makes extensive uncensored use of the diaries written at the time (ECONOMIST)

Unlikely to be superseded (Robert Fox, LISTENER)

Magnificent ... Huntford has done justice to this great and complex man. That, in itself, is a triumph (SUNDAY TIMES)

Book Description

The classic, award-winning adventure story of Ernest Shackleton - now the subject of a major new Wolfgang (Das Boot) Peterson film.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Polar Biography. 3 Mar 2002
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another excellent Polar book from Huntford, covering the life and times of Ernest Shackleton in fairly extensive detail. The majority of the book is based round his three expeditions in 1902, 1907 and 1914, which are covered in detail (Discovery more so than in previous books) but the description of his life in between is also fascinating. Like Huntford's book on Scott/Amundsen, it is warts and all, not simply wishing to paint a heroic picture, but Shack comes over as a fighter, albeit narrow minded in some ways particularly relating to transport. If he had taken dogs on his 1907 expedition he surely would have been first at the pole.
I read this book on a transatlantic flight and the time flew. Highly recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Sir Ernest Shackleton was, during his lifetime, a controversial figure, but there is little about this biography that a reader will find controversial. Huntford clearly admires Shackleton, but he doesn't gloss over the faults of the man -- and there were many. Whatever faults there were, however, Huntford rightly says that one must respect Shackleton for never having lost a single man on any of his expeditions, whereas Huntford baldly points out that Robert Scott, Shackleton's rival, "killed" the whole of his team. In fact, the glimpses of Scott in this book are tantalising (Huntford wrote an earlier volume on Scott and Amundsen), since Huntford clearly has little respect for Scott, considering him to be power-mad, stubborn, insecure, vindictive, even paranoid, but courageous in a peculiarly Edwardian British way. One is amazed at how incompetent all the early British Antarctic explorers were when it came to equipment, sledging techniques, rations etc. Where Shackleton shines in Huntford's eyes is in his ability to inspire and lead men, leading by courage and example, without thought of his own position, and it is indeed an inspiring story. Huntford's description of the famous 1915 expedition, and the epic, heroic open boat voyage across the South Atlantic from Elephant Island to South Georgia is told in great, nail-biting detail: one is breathless reading this long but intriguing section. The book is certainly long, but it never drags, the narrative is always balanced, the prose spare but flowing. In short, a remarkable book about a truly remarkable man.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and absorbing 16 Jan 2004
By A Customer
A generally excellent read. Drags a bit at the start, but then gets into its stride with an absorbing account of an almost unheralded polar explorer - in contrast to Scott whom history has handed all the plaudits. The book redresses the balance a little in that Scott always seems to be criticised when he is mentioned, though Shackleton doesn't escape criticism.
Shackleton was quite a character and the book gets this across well. The Endurance expedition was astonishing, incredible, amazing and Shackleton is now one of my heroes.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Shackleton, by Roland Huntford, has changed the way I walk. Carrying this 697 page epic around London's underground has accentuated the beginnings of a starboard list. Aye aye cap'n, tis a whopper and no mistake. But big is not boring in this case, or I would not have chugged through it on full throttle.
The book is not overweight, it has had a hard workout and carries no excess flab. But it does cover Shackleton's life comprehensively. The author makes good use of primary sources, including extracts from both Shackleton and his rival, Captain Scott's diaries on the 1902 Discovery expedition to the South Pole. He describes the battle of wills between two very different characters, culminating in Scott's decision to invalid Shackleton off the expedition. The disintegrating relationship between Scott and Shackleton threads through the first part of the biography with Huntford painting Scott as the gloomy backdrop to Shackleton's brighter outline.
The main body of the book focuses on Shackleton's Nimrod attempt to reach the pole in 1908, and the Endurance expedition of 1914. In the first, Huntford describes how Shackleton came within 97 miles of his goal in January 1909, beating Scott's furthest South at the time by 360 miles. Despite getting so close, Shackleton and his companions were forced to turn back in "one of the bravest acts in the history of exploration". Huntford juxtaposes Shackleton's selfless treatment of his men with the later demise of Scott's team just short of the pole. On his return home, Shackleton rightly received a heroic welcome. Not only had he cut a new path to the pole, later used by Scott and the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen who finally bagged the Pole in 1911, but more important Huntford stresses that he brought his men back alive.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely gripping!!! 15 Feb 2002
By A Customer
I found this story much more than a biography. Absolutely gripping, totally absorbing a real page turner. Amazing that a group of men could endure and survive so much.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed Leaders 30 Aug 1999
By A Customer
I have been intrigued by shackleton since reading Alfred Lansings Endurance, since then I've been lapping up anything I can get on Shackleton. I've left till last Huntfords biography and not been disapointed. Huntford whose experience in the subject matter adds much to the telling at last unviels for me the icon of Leadership. It's great to find he is after all human with his faults of many as well as his proven ability to lead men. The tale kept my attention all through what is a large book even throwing in some mischief in the connection with the Irish crown jewels. The life so encapsulates an era of honour and get rich quick scheme's, where class was everything, you get the impression that if Shackleton hadn't had a vision he could have ended up a drunk and a loser, always only one step away from his brother. This book may not have the best description of the actual Endurance adventure (though surprisingly good) but for sheer breadth of interest this has to be the seminal piece.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing purchase
Very disappointing, thin paper, bad printing making it unappealing to read, pictures unclear and too dark. I sent it back. Not up to standard.
Published 1 month ago by jane hamilton
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this!
Highly recommended . Huntford has done his homework . If you can only get one book on Shackleton , this is no it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Roger D Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring read
Very compelling book. Conveys to the reader the heart and soul of Shackleton and inspires interest in other explorers of this age.
Published 4 months ago by Abigail
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography; needs to be read in context
This is a terrific biography and should be on the shelf of anyone interested in the heroic age of Polar Exploration. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dr. Matthew C. Nicholls
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift
Purchased these for my Dad and he loved them. Arrived in good condition and on time. My father said that they are a great read.
Published 8 months ago by Peter White MA 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars shackleton
If you want to find out about Shackleton the man then read this book. Great life. Great story. Well written.
Published 10 months ago by Alexander Straine
4.0 out of 5 stars Prodigious research, but not a fan of Scott
Those who have read Roland Huntford's three gargantuan works 'Scott and Amundsen' (600pp), 'Nansen' (750pp) and this book, 'Shackleton' (770pp) will know that he is nothing if not... Read more
Published 12 months ago by John Brain
1.0 out of 5 stars Character Assassination
I have admired both Shackleton and Scott as long as I can remember, and since becoming an adult decided to buy books on both to reaquaint myself with their stories. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. Gillian E. Marriott
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as for Amundsen, so Huntford has also done a superb job on...
Roland Huntford is the type of historian one always wants to come across. Precise, faithful to fact, well-researched, imaginative but without useless or hidden invention, snd with... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Alfredo Hamill
4.0 out of 5 stars Complete and balanced.
I echo the sentiments of one other reviewer on here - Huntford's 'Scott and Amundsen' was massively biased towards Amundsen. Read more
Published on 14 Aug 2011 by A. S. Edwards
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