Shackleton's Stowaway Hardcover – 8 Feb 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a must read for anyone who likes a well told story of hardship, comradeship and leadership from the great Sir Ernest shackleton.......oh and it had me close to tears at least 3 times........
Thank you victoria mckernen for giving me a story that will last with me a very long time....
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Shackleton's plan was to cross Antarctica with dogsleds, but they never reached land. Instead, their adventure turned into a two-year battle for survival. As the ship neared the frozen continent, it made slow progress through the "ice pack," giant ice floes with very little space between them. Then the sea simply froze solid, and the Endurance was stuck for months. When the ice pack thawed and the floes started moving, their danger greatly increased. Soon the ship was crushed between two floes and had to be abandoned.
They survived a harrowing journey in lifeboats across the icy sea, finally arriving at a small, rocky island. Their food supplies nearly gone, they survived on whatever seals and penguins they could find. Shackleton and a few other men set out in one of the lifeboats for another island 800 miles away where they hoped to get help. Now everyone needed the endurance that had been the name of their ship.
The author, Victoria McKernan, turned this true story into a novel after careful research into the diaries of the ship's crew and books about the expedition. She shares the details of the ordeal, like the taste of seal meat, Perce's encounter with a killer whale, and the agonizing pain of his frost-bitten toes. I felt as though I too was stranded in this frozen wasteland, and it made me wonder if I would have found the courage and stamina to survive.
So begins Victoria McKernan's novel based on the real Perce Blackborow, who did everything ascribed to him in her book except keep a journal. She takes the carefully researched facts of this adventure (chronicled by Shackleton himself in South) and writes them from the viewpoints of the men involved, and the result enthralled me. This is listed as a novel for teens, but I found it well worth an adult reader's time. I especially appreciated the author's notes at the book's end, in which she identified the few points at which she took liberties with known facts (mostly a matter of tweaking the time line to give her story a smoother flow). Hopefully many readers in her intended audience will go on to read South, and wind up - like me - hooked on such books for life.