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on 16 December 2010
This is an epic story of a struggle against very harsh conditions by fifty-eight or so Antarctic explorers. As a tale it is very powerfully told because it is related in the manner of a mission report eliminating much of any emotional strain being felt by the author. Shackleton emerges as a superlative leader, surrounded by ordinary men caught up in an extraordinary feat of survival and endurance.

As a Kindle book it would have been greatly improved by the inclusion of maps and any illustrations mentioned in the text.
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on 5 November 2011
I downloaded this randomly for free and I have to say it is the best free Kindle download I have chosen yet. I remain glad I downloaded it and would actually pay full price to read a book like this.

It's so detailed and yet covers the sweeping adventure of Shackleton and his team exploring the Antarctic in the early twentieth century. It's in diary format for the most part, with gaps filled in here and there. The story of the men involved as well as the landscape itself and the wildlife - it's compelling. I really enjoyed it, although certain parts did upset me a little (mainly the killing of animals parts).

The style is very Keep Calm and Carry On - very English gentleman on an adventure. There's no hysteria, everyone just seems to accept the situation and just get through it as best they can, keep going, always stoic and joking through some of what must be the harshest conditions I have ever heard of humans inhabiting. This is a story of survival if nothing else.

I watched a documentary about Prince Harry and some Iraq veterans going to Antarctica the night before I started reading this book, by chance, and the whole way through the book I couldn't help but constantly make comparisons of their conditions with the modern-day. They covered a vast, frozen terrain and icy waters wearing woollen jumpers and normal shoes with nails in the soles, never changing their clothes, wearing them until they literally fell apart. They had nothing to protect them from the elements towards the end. The food (and lack thereof) is mentioned often, and Shackleton comments that humans can fortunately survive on any kind of diet. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to, though, especially when they started digging up fish bones to re-boil up.

A map would have been fantastic but otherwise I don't think this account could be improved upon. A fantastic read that has stayed with me. Recommended for anyone. Animal lovers should be warned about the middle section, though.
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on 22 November 2012
I have seen the Channel 4 film and have a large 'coffee table' book about Shackleton, but reading this in his own words, is a different experience.

It is almost impossible to imagine the hardships experienced by these men, in appalling weather conditions of almost non-stop blizzards and temperatures down to 50 degrees F below freezing. Not for weeks, or months, but for years. Totally cut off from the outside world, no means of communicating with each other. It makes man's greatest achievement (the moon landings) almost seem like a walk in the park!

And there is no complaining, no whingeing, nothing but a British stiff upper lip. It staggers belief that anyone could endure the conditions, but these men almost relished the hardships, filled with wonder at the amazing spectacle of nature around them.

Well worth a read if you have any interest in the subject. I have only 2 minor gripes, firstly, that the Kindle edition is without maps or photographs. Without maps it is hard to get a feel for the scale and distances involved. Luckily my coffee table book is full of maps and photographs, so it complements this very well. The Shackleton Voyages: A pictorial anthology of the polar explorer and Edwardian hero

The other problem is that several chapters at the beginning and end of the book drag a bit. There are a lot of pages which just describe the day-to-day weather conditions, bearings and position, sightings of icebergs, depth soundings, geological samples etc, which gets a bit monotonous after a while. Once on the Antartic proper and the land journey is under way the story moves along at a much better pace, so stick with it!
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on 25 May 2014
Wow, just finished it.

Firstly to clear up the 1* reviews; Correct, there are no photos, I was disappointed with the lack of photos at first but I was totally captivated (so it gets 5*). It's a free book. If you want photos, cough up and pay for it, or you can search Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition on the internet and find dozens of maps and photos ...like what I did!

This book is excellently written, what he and the rest of the team went through, with what we now deem as primitive equipment, simply beggars belief. Nobody died on his watch (Endurance). He is factual in his account and modest with his praise.

If you want a good free historical book, look no further than this one. Don't expect photos or maps.

So, where now, Dickens or WWII?!!
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on 23 February 2012
This is a tale of courage of course but the first part is written in a beautifully descriptive way. The ice floes and natural effects are so well described that you can almost see them and feel the cold - I think that our everyday winter wear must be warmer than the gear worn by the explorers. Sir Edmund was certainly dedicated to his men and animals and just would not give up.
I found the second part of the book (where he went off on another mission) less interesting as the beautiful descriptive phrases were not so abundant. I think that perhaps the script for this came from a different source; but it was still interesting enough to keep me hanging on until the end.
Not too many typos, all in all a pretty fair deal for free
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on 11 March 2017
What can I say? This story of survival is one of the greatest ever documented. The courage and sheer bloody-minded determination of Shackleton's team is legendary - what a leader he must have been to keep those men's' mind's from total devastation. I'm in awe.
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on 17 January 2011
The book is a contemporary account of the last great polar adventure of the early 20th century. It is an excellent read, particularly in the first two-thirds, when Shackleton is describing, first-hand, the trials and tribulations of the 'Endurance' party. The remainder, about the 'Aurora', which formed the other part of the expedition (laying depots for the intended trans-Antarctic journey, the original purpose), is a more fragmented narrative. The appendices can be safely skipped through, except for an early mention of the effects of whaling on the local populations of various species. As others mention, the lack of maps and illustrations prevents a 5 star rating for the Kindle edition.
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on 2 April 2012
Whilst reading the book on Kindle, I decided to bookmark the co-ordinates given by Shackleton in the book and then look them up on Google Earth. It worked and I was able to see Shackleton's locations as described by him. Where no co-ordinates were given, I simply put the name of various islands mentioned by Shackleton and Google Earth took me there.

I would advise that once you put the co-ordinates into Google Earth and the 'search' is completed, you zoom out so that you can see land mass and use them as a reference point. Obviously, with Shackleton and his men being on ice floes, this means they were out at sea but zoom out, and you will see how close they were to the antarctic continent.
The format I used to input the co-ordinates which worked for me for example was: 69.11s 50.34w

As an added bonus, people who have visited the antarctic area have taken photographs and loaded the images onto Google Earth. There or about 42 images of one of the islands mentioned by Shackleton. This added treat gives some idea of the challenges to Shackleton and his men.

Get the book; download Google Earth onto your PC (I'm not sure if there is a tablet version)and enjoy.
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on 28 March 2014
Though with no human enemy, this is a story reminiscent of Xenophon's 'Anabasis', even to the extent that the 'Sea' is the goal, and that of a leader looking after and eventually delivering his men.

The detail of the diary of the escape off the ice to Elephant Island and thence to South Georgia is astounding and provocative, yet delivered almost deadpan, without ostentation: What now, what should be next and how to achieve it.

The book also relates the story of the Ross Sea party, where sadly there were casualties, not to be discovered until later.

I had been expecting some of the photographs of Hurley (the official photographer) to be included but they were not.

Along with 'Shackleton's Boat Journey' by Worsley, the crucial navigator, and 'Endurance' by Lansing, I thoroughly recommend this book.

Try 'Home of the Blizzard' by Sir Douglas Mawson too.
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on 9 December 2014
The amazing tale of Shackleton's expedition to the Pole and his teams battles to survive the elements.

Though this book was written in 1917, nearly 100 years ago, it still reads remarkably well. The story is gripping and the tale well worth the reading.

It's also a free publication and my thanks go to the volunteers who make these older books available in our digital world.
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