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Elephant Island and Beyond: The Life and Diaries of Thomas Orde Lees Hardcover – Illustrated, 20 May 2003

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Erskine Press; 2003 First Edition edition (20 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852970766
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852970765
  • Package Dimensions: 24.6 x 19.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 901,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Orde Lees returned from Shackleton s 1914 expedition with the reputation of being the least popular and most criticised of the men involved with the Endurance, and his sullied reputation continued up to his death in 1958. Heavily castigated in most published accounts of Shackleton s adventure (but, curiously, not by Shackleton himself) he was called cowardly and lazy and cowardly. That Orde Lees diary remained unpublished until 2003 undoubtedly denied him the opportunity of speaking up for himself. This belated and most welcomed book is, therefore, a boon to revisionist historians, and is a redemptive testament to a much misunderstood and unfairly maligned man. Joe O Farrell is a historian and writer on Polar matters and the above was taken from an article in which the he gives his own personal top-ten favourite polar books which have given him the greatest reading pleasure. Elephant Island and Beyond was No 6 in his list. --Nimrod The Journal of the Ernest Shackleton Autumn School, October, 2007 Joe O Farrell.

History has been particularly unkind to Orde Lees. The professional marine recruited as the expedition s motor expert has been widely portrayed as a pompous, ingratiating snob who, rumour has it, was the first on the list of men to be killed and eaten by the starving men marooned of Elephant Island if Shackleton had not succeeded in rescuing them. That he was unpopular is indisputable...yet his willingness to shoulder the burden of quartermaster was key to their survival. The slurs that have tainted Orde Lees memory are given short shrift in John Thompson s brilliant revisionist study of the polar explorer who was later decorated for his bravery in pioneering the development of the parachute as a life-saver for aviators. Merging biographical narrative with the most complete version of [his] oft-plundered diaries to be published, Thomson reveals a man at odds with the image that has been created; a man far more tolerant and forgiving of his companions that they ever were of him...To read his Antarctic diary entries is to be astonished by the ingenuity and awed by the sheer resolution and steadfastness under the most trying conditions imaginable. --Eastern Daily Press, July, 2003

About the Author

John Bell Thomson is a retired journalist living in New Zealand. he had a 50 year newspaper and newsagency career in New Zealand, Australia, Britain and East Africa. This is his third book, and the second concerning members of the Shackleton expedition of 1914-16.


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on 24 January 2004
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