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5.0 out of 5 stars
An amazing story of courage,leadership and survival., 15 Jun. 2000
In 1914 27 men, hand picked and led by Sir Ernest Shackleton sailed from the Island of South Georgia for the Antarctic. Their goal to be the first human beings to cross the Antarctic via the South Pole. They failed - but in doing so exceeded the aims of the original journey, and set a standard for survival and courage that it would be hard to imagine ever being beaten. This is a true story compiled from the diaries and interviews with the men who survived. It shows what human beings can achieve in appalling conditions. Adrift on a melting ice flow for 7 months, after 9 months trapped in the Antarctic ice pack on board their ship "Endurance", they finlly launch the lifeboats they had dragged over the ice to attempt to sail to an uninhabited island over 100 miles away. That they make it defies belief, but their ordeal is still not over. These are the days before radio and GPS. Long thought to have perished in the ice pack, there are no search parties or rescue services looking for them. Only they can rescue themselves. In a 22 foot boat Shackleton and 5 men set off to sail across the most dangerous ocean in the world, to a whaling station on another island, where help could be sought to rescue those left behind. Navigating by sextant, one chronometer and a wet, almost unreadable, book of sight reduction tables they have to make landfall on an island a few miles across after a 650 mile journey through gales and mountainous seas. If they miss the island they cannot turn back because of currents and the limited sailing capability of the small boat. If they fail they will die as will the 22 men left behind. This journey alone is remarkable, what comes next and what went before is hard to believe - but it is true. This is Post Victorian exploration and fortitude at its best and should be read by everyone!