Customer Review

18 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of adventure, mistakes, and bravery., 17 Mar 2005
This review is from: Shackleton (Paperback)
I picked this book up a little reluctantly. The author, Roland Huntford, was responsible for a hatchet job on Captain Scott which has fortunately now been demolished by people who have Antarctic experience.
However, I have been pleasantly surprised by Huntford's biography of Shackleton. It is a gripping and entertaining read, spoilt occasionally by Huntford's predictable sniping at Scott. He even manages a few uncomplimentary lines about Tom Crean of all people. (Perhaps this was because Crean never said a bad word about Scott!).
Shackleton led a fascinating life, and the picture here is of someone only comfortable in adversity. Shackleton was no businessmen, a brave but underachieving explorer, but a superb leader of men. Whilst reading the book, particularly the section on the 1908-1909 Nimrod expedition which came within a whisker of the pole, I did get the impression that Shackleton and his men seemed ill-prepared for what they were attempting, and Shackleton was great at getting his men out of holes that, in the cold light of day, he had been responsible for getting them into.
I found the account of the Discovery expedition a little disappointing, mainly because Huntford's focus on Shackleton was disturbed by his eagerness to denigrate Scott. However, the account of the Endurance saga is fast paced, comprehensive and compelling, with asides to relay the corresponding story of the Aurora party in the Ross Sea.
Don't let the size of this book put you off. Shackleton packed plenty into his relatively short life, and it is well worth reading about.
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