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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb biography of forgotten Antartic hero
The first stiking thing about this book is Frank Hurley's magnificent photograph of Crean on the cover. This picture conveys as toughness and resoluteness that characterized Crean's adventures - if ever a book can be judged by its cover, this is it.
The story of Shackleton's expedition to the Antartic has had a huge revival in that past few years, and Michael Smith...
Published on 12 Mar. 2003 by EFMOL

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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shame about the writing style - story fantastic
I was so disappointed in the way this was written - badly edited and far too repetitious. I did not need to be told over and over again that, for example, Crean was gregarious. For a biography I thought the author made too many assumptions about how people were feeling when he didn't have primary sources to supply that information. The pictures and the content made me...
Published on 6 May 2012 by E. Neill


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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb biography of forgotten Antartic hero, 12 Mar. 2003
The first stiking thing about this book is Frank Hurley's magnificent photograph of Crean on the cover. This picture conveys as toughness and resoluteness that characterized Crean's adventures - if ever a book can be judged by its cover, this is it.
The story of Shackleton's expedition to the Antartic has had a huge revival in that past few years, and Michael Smith is partly responsible for this in my view. From start to finsh, I enjoyed every page of this story which will add another interesting view to students/readers of Antartic explorations. Crean's participation in what must be one of the 20th centuries survival stories is heroic. Smith's book now ensures that Crean is no longer an unsung hero.
Highly recommended!
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Quiet Man, 26 Feb. 2005
By 
Mr. Philip James (EXMOUTH, Devon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I am ashamed to say that my copy of this book gathered dust on a shelf for almost a year! Once started, I found Michael Smith's book totally riveting as he tells Tom Crean's story so well. And what a story!
Weaving together copious research and well-chosen extracts from letters, diaries and recounts of the Discovery and Endurance expeditions with his own compelling narrative, Crean's quiet, remarkable and stalwart character is paid a well-deserved homage.
If such a thing is possible, I shall be more reflective over my next pint in the South Pole Inn at Annascaul (Crean's pub). If, like me, you occasionally feel your life dragging its heels, read this and your burdens - whatever they may be - will suddenly feel lighter!
Crean's adventures alongside Scott and Shackleton are remarkable: not only was he one of the last to see Scott heading off to the Pole but Crean also survived by the narrowest margin the Southern Ocean and South Georgia crossings through which Shackleton sought rescue for his men.
Crean survived. I'm glad his story has too.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to Antarctic Exploration, 2 Aug. 2003
By 
Roger (Rathfarnham Ireland) - See all my reviews
A wonderful tale, told simply and brilliantly. Crean's story is one of almost unbelievable bravery, dedication and (excuse the pun) endurance. A chance purchase which has made an indelible impression upon me. I now cannot get enough of the Antarctic, its heroes, ghosts and the sheer power of the continent itself. For anyone interested in the human psyche I would recommend this book highly. For anyone interested in Antarctic exploration it is a must.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hundred years ago..., 29 Mar. 2010
By 
Patrick Malone (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean - Antarctic Survivor (Paperback)
We owe a debt to Michael Smith for researching the story of Tom Crean, and for telling it so well in this book. There's so little documentary evidence of Crean's life that Smith occasionally dips into conjecture and surmise to keep the narrative on course; very occasionally, too, he alludes to the fashionable myth that Scott was a poor and indecisive leader. Recent biographies have not been kind to Scott, but to put things in perspective I recommend Ranulf Fiennes' biography of him, the first written by someone who's actually put in the miles on the ice. It was a different time - as is evidenced by the fact that the 'officers' and the 'seamen' had separate accommodation in Scott's hut and Navy discipline prevailed; men like Tom Crean fell somewhere between the gentlemen and the ponies in terms of preferment. Just as Scott has been badly served, so I think Shackleton has been given slightly too deferential a run; both were extraordinary men, giants of exploration with heart and will, and demons to drive them. But wherever a great feat of Polar exploration was written into history - Scott on the Plateau, Shackleton on the ice, the open boat journey and the crossing of South Georgia - Tom Crean was there. As we approach the centenary of the events depicted, I hope we can do better by Crean's memory than a pub in County Kerry. Well done to Michael Smith for beginning the process.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Superb!!, 19 Jun. 2005
By A Customer
I fell in love with Tom Crean shortly into the book. The book makes you realise how tragic it is that his heroism has only come to light in the last few years. Others took all the glory for Tom whilst he quietly made his way home to Ireland to live out his years unknown for his feats of bravery. I agree with a previous reviewer who says that anybody with only a tiny interest in Antartic Exploration should read An Unsung Hero. Beautifully written. The best book I've read in several months... Buy it!
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read - Not for the faint hearted, 27 Nov. 2001
By A Customer
How did they survive? This book is a must for all who love the wild side of exploring and adventure. Not only did Tom Crean go to the antartic once, he went three times and each time was more dangerous and exciting than the previous. Michael Smith recounts the travels of one amazing Irish man who survived three expeditions to the Antartic and who almost single handedly saved the lives of many fellow explorers on more than one occasion. A book impossible to put down once the first page is read and one which will leave an everlasting impression.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Biography of an unsung hero, 26 Jun. 2003
An absolutely unbelievable and fascinating account of the life of one of the lesser known pioneers of Antarctica exploration in the early part of the twentieth century. Again and again you question whether or not you are reading fact or fantasy. The book was completely riveting and I couldn't put it down. Michael Smith has constructed a well-written and informative account of the life of Tom Creann, which I would heartily recommend to any person with even a passing interest in Antarctic exploration or indeed any type of adventure stories. A fitting testament to the life of an unassuming and genuine hero.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wandering around in Antarctica, 15 July 2008
I have been a big fan of all Antarctic exploration stories since first reading Scott by Sir Ranulph. It fired my imagination and compelled me to read more on the subject. I gradually formed a good picture in my head of Tom Crean, a man who I always thought must have a real asset to any adventure and to find a book based on the man himself was a real treat. I found the book very difficult to put down. It offers a good insight into Crean's background, his roles in the various expeditions, his relationships with others, his incredibly endearing character and the many heroic acts he performed. The photographs in the book are terrific and I often found myself wandering around in the scenes presented to me in the pages of the book.
I have always found the lesser known players in these snowy expeditions to be extraordinarily interesting and I think Michael Smith's book is a case in point. This is one of my favourite books and I'm secretly hoping that Mr Smith can be tempted to write a few more books on the other hardy members of the historic Antarctic expeditions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable hero. Remarkable book., 29 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean - Antarctic Survivor (Paperback)
In their review, the Journal of the Shackleton School assert "Should it be that one buys or reads only one polar book in one's lifetime, let that book be Michael Smith's 'An Unsung Hero'". I can only echo those sentiments. This is a brilliantly written book about a man who was both heroic and self-effacing. A brief browse of the other Amazon reviews of this biography of Tom Crean will reveal how appreciative all who have read the book are of Smith's masterful research and engaging writing style.

Thomas Crean, a quiet Irishman, accompanied Robert Falcon Scott on both his expeditions to the Antarctic, as well as Shackleton on his abortive mission to cross the Antarctic. Enduring unimaginable hardships, Crean, not an officer but an ordinary seaman, was supremely competent, totally loyal and brave beyond words. His service to them, drew the admiration of both Scott and Shackleton and won the lifelong gratitude of 'Teddy' Evans, Scott's second-in-command, following Crean singlehandedly saved his life in 1912.

Unlike many of his more literate contemporaries, Crean did not keep a diary or write anything other than short letters or occasional notes. So his biographer was unable to draw on much material emanating from the man himself. But such was the esteem that Crean was held in, that others Scott - Shackleton - Teddy Evans - Apsley-Gerrard - Worsley - Lashley etc. in their writings, all gave powerful testimony to Crean's qualities. So Smith has drawn together their evidence, and supplemented it with interviews with those who either knew Crean, or knew those who knew him, to paint a picture of the man. And what a man!

Two minor points. In relating the events of Crean's 3 expeditions, Smith repeats much of what has been written by those who were there and those who have subsequently written about them. So the account, for those who have read the other accounts, can seem repetitive. But I found that Smith was able to draw ones attention to knew perspectives which made re-visiting events eminently worthwhile. Secondly, Smith (see Chapter 12), like Roland Huntford before him, is particularly critical of Scott's approach to Antarctic exploration, comparing him unfavourably with Roald Amundsen. Sir Ranulph Fiennes, in his book 'Captain Scott' challenges such estimations - to some effect. Given Fiennes conclusions, I wonder if Michael Smith might present a more balanced view of Scott, in any subsequent revision.

Those points notwithstanding, please read this book - it's a cracker.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Man, 17 Mar. 2010
By 
Mr. M. R. Barrow "Mr Bee" (Hertfordshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean - Antarctic Survivor (Paperback)
A marvellous book about an incredible man. His exploits in the Antarctic left me stunned that any human being could come through such hardship. Why he wanted to go through it again & again leaves me speechless. If only the expeditions had had the leadership such heroes deserved.
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An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean - Antarctic Survivor
An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean - Antarctic Survivor by Michael Smith (Paperback - 6 Feb. 2009)
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