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on 27 March 2011
In Shackleton's Footsteps: A Return to the Heart of the Antarctic is difficult to put down due to Henry Worsley's eye for detail and captivating writing style. His description of the unique ups and downs that the team experience heightens any existing respect and admiration for Shackelton's selfless leadership. Shackleton's diary, which is included throughout, allows us to access the past and gain a greater understanding of the awesome task these gentleman faced, 100 years ago and even in the modern day.

Worsley puts together some valuable reflective points that can be applied to everyday life, projects and anyone working with a team. I have given copies to some of my team at work as although faced with challenging times ahead, even if we don't reach our ultimate goal, we will do well to reflect on the wonderful experience we have had working as a team.

As Shackleton said:

- "There are good things in the world, but I am not sure that comradeship is not the best of them all."
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on 10 April 2011
In Shackleton's Footsteps: A Return to the Heart of the Antarctic

For some, the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton's bid for the South Pole is a very familiar one. A story that stands the test of time, but through Henry Worsley's account of his team's challenge to follow in the great man's footsteps 100 years on, he has managed to provide a new perspective. The weaving of the two stories together allows those new to Shackleton to understand this great man, whilst those returning to the story will find themselves looking at the story through fresh eyes.

Henry Worsley's writing is honest, open and full of emotion, which allows the reader to fully immerse themselves in the story. There are wonderful moments in the book, full of atmosphere, that you can feel just how much Shackleton means to the team and especially Henry Worsley.

As a life-long admirer of Shackleton and with a library of books on the great man, I think this is a truly wonderful book and am extremely pleased that I am able to add it to my collection.
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on 30 January 2013
What an excellent book! Henry Worsley writes with passion and flair about a topic that is clearly very emotive and personal to him. The reader is quickly drawn into the tale of the expedition, with neat excerpts from the original voyage nicely complementing the modern expedition by highlighting how extraordinarily hardy the original team must have been. You get a real sense of the scale of the project in this book, the hours spent coralling the sponsors, the discussions on funding, and the real-life necessities of trying to balance work and family commitments during the 5 years of planning that were required to pull the thing together, even before the trek is underway.

Once out on the ice, Henry manages to capture the experience in an extremely vivid manner - he clearly has a gift for prose and he conveys a real sense of connection with the reader, particularly as he explores the spiritual, physical and even mundane aspects of the expedition, revealing much with his economy of words. This expedition, on its own, is very impressive and each of the 3 team members clearly showed tremendous grit to reach the Pole - this is granted even more gravitas by the regular comparisons with the original expedition. Genuinely inspirational.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic tale and I heartily recommend it to anyone with a taste for adventure.
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on 27 March 2011
Will Gow had the idea of mounting a centenary expedition comprised of descendents of Shackleton's original team to celebrate the Nimrod Expedition to the South Pole in 1908/09. Henry Worsley was introduced to Will by Shackleton's granddaughter, Alexandra, and Henry Adams heard about it when Will was being interviewed on the radio about the project. In this way three complete strangers were put together to try to achieve something extraordinary.

This book tells how it is possible to make a dream become reality. Henry Worsley's account of five years spent preparing for and then retracing the route taken by Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition 100 years earlier is difficult to put down. It is fascinating to read about how the relationships developed between the three protagonists under such harsh and confined conditions.

In 1909, having covered about 820 miles, Shackleton had to make the decision to turn back 97 miles from the South Pole in order to save the lives of his men. A key objective of the centenary expedition was to stand on the same "furthest south" spot 100 years to the day later. Setting themselves a precise deadline like this for such an expedition introduced extra stresses as the weather closed in delaying their planned departure. Poignantly Ernest Shackleton's original compass makes this journey for the second time, but on this occasion is carried on to the South Pole itself.

An added bonus is that interweaved into this account is the description of the original expedition so one is also able to compare and learn about Shackleton's journey. Throughout the book you are taken back 100 years to compare what life was like at the same moment for the original team. Then each evening the Centenary Expedition would read out the relevant entry from Shackleton's diary so the reader gets an insight into both journeys simultaneously.

I really enjoyed the objective, down to earth and honest style the book is written in. You get a real feeling of just how physically and mentally tough the journey is and Henry Worsley is very honest about his emotions when dealing with this. An inspirational and gripping account that I found enormously readable. Excellent stuff.
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on 27 March 2011
For most people, knowledge of Sir Ernest Shackleton's adventures go no further than his 1914-16 Endurance expedition - in which the explorer successfully overcame adversity and failure to lead his crew to safety after his ship became trapped and subsequently sunk in the Weddell Sea. However, this was not the first time that the Irish-born legend had turned near disaster into triumph - twice before had he ventured toward the South Pole, only to return by the skin of his teeth.

It is the second of these expeditions - aboard the Nimrod in 1908, in which Shackleton turned back 97 miles from his goal for the sake of his men - that Henry Worsley recreates in his new book "In Shackleton's Footsteps - A Return To The Heart Of The Antarctic". Exactly 100 years after Shackleton set out with three others to become the first people to set foot on the grand prize of exploration, Worsley led a team comprising descendants of Shackleton and his crew to finish what the explorer had started. It was to be a gruelling 80-day, 1448km trek across some of the world's most hostile environments.

"In Shackleton's Footsteps" chronicles Worsley's trip from the early stages of planning to its final outcome, leaving no stone unturned. Using prose that would make the poetry-loving Shackleton proud, Worsley successfully combines his modern-day adventure with historical detail to illustrate the differences and contrasts between the contemporary and the past. He explores his own feelings toward the great explorer - he collects Shackletonian memorabilia and recounts episodes from his own military career in which he drew inspiration from Shackleton's exploits - and analyses Sir Ernest's leadership, from the power of positive thinking and optimism to the dynamics of teams.

The book is a welcome addition to Shackleton's legacy, and a fitting celebration of both the man and the 100th anniversary of the expedition.

As a collector of books on Antarctic exploration, I sit "In Shackleton's Footsteps" proudly alongside the classics of the genre.
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on 14 April 2012
I bought the book having already attended a presentation by the author on his epic travels.

To have heard and then read about the history around Shackleton's Antartic expeditions was one thing, to meet someone who has actually done the same trip was awesome. Enthralling read from start to finish by Henry Worsley.

Looking forward to his next book already. For me it was history made real.
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VINE VOICEon 5 July 2011
Make no mistake, antarctic exploration is only for the brave and the tough - but it does seem to be somewhat easier than it once was.

This book recounts how Henry Worsley and two others set out to retrace the journey made in 1908-09 by Ernest Shackleton's party. Shackleton had the extraordinary courage to abandon his quest a mere ninety-seven miles from the South Pole. At that time no man had travelled further south, but when Shackleton made the decision to turn round to save lives it must have felt in some way a failure.

Worsley's trio - all three descended from men involved in Shackleton's expedition - follow the route undertaken a century earlier but with the added determination to reach the Pole. This they achieve after severe tests of morale and fitness, most notably on the Beardmore glacier. It marks the culmination of a five-year project of planning, training and fund-raising. Admirable in every way - and yet ...

Much has changed in a hundred years. Clothing and equipment, for a start. Daily radio contact with base - reassuring in case of serious trouble (which mercifully didn't arise). No need, either, to retrace steps as Shackleton did - a plane will collect the intrepid party from the Pole. Where their arrival, incidentally, is a stop-start process to accommodate the waiting cameraman who needed to stage-manage his filming. And that brings us to that icy wasteland called Antarctica.

Waiting to set off from Punta Arenas in Chile are more than just Worsley and co. "There were Finns, Spaniards, Brazilians, Brits, Russians, Czechs, Canadians and Americans" all intent on braving the vastness on separate projects. Not quite Oxford Circus at five p.m. but a surprising picture. No less surprising than the Ross Sea area which, Worsley writes, "... was busier than I expected. Scientists raced past us on snowmobiles, cabins on skis dotted the coastline and helicopters passed us overhead." So what did they find at the South Pole? ""I was now skiing on tracks made by a snowmobile. On either side of us, cardboard boxes were piled high, some marked 'Mattresses and Pillows', others 'Broken washing machines.'"

Nothing like that appears in the accounts of Shackleton's experience, which the author intercuts with his own. And, it's a pity to have to say, Worsley's plain prose (not to mention his inability to know when to use 'I' and when 'me') suffers by comparison with his predecessor's restrained eloquence. "In Shackleton's Footsteps" is worth reading but it may not portray quite the footprints that might have been expected.
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on 14 June 2013
This is an amazing book which keeps your interest on edge though out. It combines very aptly the past with the present from an historical aspect. The physical endurance factor of the three required was immense but the mental strength necessary even greater.. A great read and I thoroughly recommend it. A must for anyone interested in adventure.
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on 12 May 2011
Many of the other reviews capture the essence of this book in perfect detail so I wont dwell on them.

Perhaps the most poignant thing for me which Henry embraced (or openly admits he tries to embrace) is Shackletons leadership style. I think the very fact he questions himself openly and reflects on each decision, he is already there.

If you have ever been on expeditions / long hikes either alone or with others then this is also an amazing book to help you reflect on any situations which happened in your own sphere.

In summary: A very thought provoking book, about an amazing journey, in the footsteps of legends.
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on 26 March 2011
Congratulations to Worsley on his inspirational account of conquering the South Pole - "In Shackleton's Footsteps". This is a fascinating tale giving great and very personal detail of what life is like as a Polar Explorer, both a historical and contemporary one, and is a must read for any schoolboy or young person starting out who wants to learn about the leadership skills of Britain's legendary Polar Explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Worsley succeeds in captivating the reader because of his thorough and almost quirky knowledge of his schoolboy hero and by vividly recreating 100 years to the day the endless challenges that befell Shackleton and the route that he took before he was forced to turn back just 97 miles from the cherished prize. The hardships of Shackletons party - lack of food, extreme cold, physical exhaustion - are all brought to life in this account which oozes respect for the detailed history of Shackleton's journey but which faced similar challenges to the great man himself.

Worsleys's account is written in a very personal, modest and honest style. Packed with excitement and full of minutae on Shackleton's character, this inspirational book thoroughly deserves to be recognised both in historical terms and in it's own right as a gripping Polar adventure.
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