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South: The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition, 1914-17 (Traveller's) Paperback – 21 Apr 1983

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Product details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; New edition edition (21 April 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712601112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712601115
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,185,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 1 review
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A truly inspiring story from a REAL hero. 15 Dec 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I recently read a fascinating book by Sir Ernest Shackleton called "SOUTH!". In his book he details in his unique understated way, all the trials and struggles his team went through in his 1914 attempt to cross the continent. From the early part of the voyage aboard the "Endurance", leaving South Georgia in December 1914 Shackleton brings you aboard his ship as he looks for a suitable landing site on a barely charted coastline. In an unusually cold summer his ship is beset in the pack ice and forced away from land. The ship and its company of scientist and sailors drift on the ice until October, when despite desperate attempts to prevent it the ship is crushed in the ice and sinks leaving Shackleton and his team alone on the ice. In an awe-inspiring fashion Sir Ernest details the struggles to pull 2 lifeboats and supplies across 500 miles of heaving pack ice to reach open sea. From the tales of ice cracks opening up beneath the tents to the bizarre spectacle of men relaxing playing soccer on the ice floes under the ever watchful gaze of killer whales, Shackleton takes you along on that journey. In an age before radio communication, with no one in the world aware of their predicament and during a time when the whole world was distracted by the horrors of the First World War, Shackleton led his men to the edge of the ice and launched the 2 lifeboats. In April 1916 they became the first men to ever set foot on Elephant island. The island was anything but a safe haven, with no shelter and potentially lethal sheets of ice blowing across the beaches. Leaving the bulk of this team to shelter under an upturned lifeboat. Shackleton took a few men and launched the remaining open lifeboat to begin a perilous 800 mile to South Georgia. The tale of that boat journey is in itself a spectacular story, in a 20 foot boat alone in the seas around Cape Horn, acknowledged by all sailors to be the most frightening and violent. Shackleton and his small party braved a hurricane and waves of enormous size (one wave was so tremendous that Shackleton claimed for the rest of his life he would wake at night terrified by its presence). Arriving on South Georgia, they found themselves on the wrong side of the island separated from a whaling station by enormous mountains and glaciers. Taking one member of his party, Shackleton began the never before attempted crossing of South Georgia, once again a tale of epic struggles itself worthy of its own book. Struggling into the whaling station they had trouble convincing the whalers there that they had indeed crossed the island. The manager of the station recognized Shackleton and they were hailed as heroes amongst the hardy men stationed there. Shackleton immediately found a boat and traveled around the island to recover his men. And then made arrangements to set sail to Elephant Island to rescue the rest of his expedition. His 1st relief attempt aboard the "Southern Sky" ran into heavy pack ice and he was unable to reach the island. He instead sailed to the Falkland islands where he was given use of another ship the "Institute de Pesca No 1". This ship also failed to penetrate the pack ice and Shackleton was forced to return to the Falklands. He was then sailed to Punta Arenas in Chile where he began his third relief attempt aboard the "Emma" again he was thwarted by heavy pack ice and had to head for the Falklands. A fourth and successful relief attempt was launched from Chile and Shackleton arrived on Elephant Island to find his men packed up and ready to go. They told him that they never lost hope and everyday they would pack up and say "Today's the day, the Boss will come today, let's be ready". Shackleton recovered his whole expedition team, not one man was lost despite all that they had been through, the only casualty was a few frost-bitten toes. The men returned to a world in turmoil as the horrors of the 1st world war raged on, and claimed the lives of several of the seaman who had so recently endured the hardships of 2 years alone in the Antarctic wilderness. This book is extremely hard to find for some reason, I found a copy at my local library that was printed in 1920 an still contained the maps in excellant condition, but my attempts to buy a newer copy have failed.
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