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An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean - Antarctic Survivor Paperback – 6 Feb 2009

4.9 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: The Collins Press (6 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905172869
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905172863
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.3 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

Michael Smith has written a splendid biography. --The Nautical Magazine

The epic struggles, heroics and the unbelievable hardships of the voyages are wonderfully told. --The Irish Times

Wonderful Kiplingesque yarn about a great Irishman who didn't have to die to become a hero. --Irish Independent

About the Author

Michael Smith, a former journalist, is an established authority on Polar exploration. His other books are An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean - Antarctic Survivor (2000, 2009), I Am Just Going Outside, a biography of Captain Oates (2202), Polar Crusader about Sir James Wordie (2004), Tom Crean - An Illustrated Life (2006, 2013), Captain Francis Crozier (2006, 2014), Great Endeavour - Ireland's Antarctic Explorers (2010) and Shackleton - By Endurance We Conquer (2014). An Unsung Hero was shortlisted for the Banff Mountain Book Festival and Tom Crean - An Illustrated Life was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards 2007. Michael contributes to TV and radio documentaries and lectures on polar history at venues such as Buckingham Palace, Royal Geographical Society and National Museum of Ireland. Before becoming a full-time writer Michael was a business and political journalist with The Guardian and The Observer. He lives in East Sussex.


Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The first stiking thing about this book is Frank Hurley's magnificent photograph of Crean on the cover. This picture conveys as toughness and resoluteness that characterized Crean's adventures - if ever a book can be judged by its cover, this is it.
The story of Shackleton's expedition to the Antartic has had a huge revival in that past few years, and Michael Smith is partly responsible for this in my view. From start to finsh, I enjoyed every page of this story which will add another interesting view to students/readers of Antartic explorations. Crean's participation in what must be one of the 20th centuries survival stories is heroic. Smith's book now ensures that Crean is no longer an unsung hero.
Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
A wonderful tale, told simply and brilliantly. Crean's story is one of almost unbelievable bravery, dedication and (excuse the pun) endurance. A chance purchase which has made an indelible impression upon me. I now cannot get enough of the Antarctic, its heroes, ghosts and the sheer power of the continent itself. For anyone interested in the human psyche I would recommend this book highly. For anyone interested in Antarctic exploration it is a must.
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Format: Paperback
I am ashamed to say that my copy of this book gathered dust on a shelf for almost a year! Once started, I found Michael Smith's book totally riveting as he tells Tom Crean's story so well. And what a story!
Weaving together copious research and well-chosen extracts from letters, diaries and recounts of the Discovery and Endurance expeditions with his own compelling narrative, Crean's quiet, remarkable and stalwart character is paid a well-deserved homage.
If such a thing is possible, I shall be more reflective over my next pint in the South Pole Inn at Annascaul (Crean's pub). If, like me, you occasionally feel your life dragging its heels, read this and your burdens - whatever they may be - will suddenly feel lighter!
Crean's adventures alongside Scott and Shackleton are remarkable: not only was he one of the last to see Scott heading off to the Pole but Crean also survived by the narrowest margin the Southern Ocean and South Georgia crossings through which Shackleton sought rescue for his men.
Crean survived. I'm glad his story has too.
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Format: Hardcover
How did they survive? This book is a must for all who love the wild side of exploring and adventure. Not only did Tom Crean go to the antartic once, he went three times and each time was more dangerous and exciting than the previous. Michael Smith recounts the travels of one amazing Irish man who survived three expeditions to the Antartic and who almost single handedly saved the lives of many fellow explorers on more than one occasion. A book impossible to put down once the first page is read and one which will leave an everlasting impression.
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Format: Paperback
We owe a debt to Michael Smith for researching the story of Tom Crean, and for telling it so well in this book. There's so little documentary evidence of Crean's life that Smith occasionally dips into conjecture and surmise to keep the narrative on course; very occasionally, too, he alludes to the fashionable myth that Scott was a poor and indecisive leader. Recent biographies have not been kind to Scott, but to put things in perspective I recommend Ranulf Fiennes' biography of him, the first written by someone who's actually put in the miles on the ice. It was a different time - as is evidenced by the fact that the 'officers' and the 'seamen' had separate accommodation in Scott's hut and Navy discipline prevailed; men like Tom Crean fell somewhere between the gentlemen and the ponies in terms of preferment. Just as Scott has been badly served, so I think Shackleton has been given slightly too deferential a run; both were extraordinary men, giants of exploration with heart and will, and demons to drive them. But wherever a great feat of Polar exploration was written into history - Scott on the Plateau, Shackleton on the ice, the open boat journey and the crossing of South Georgia - Tom Crean was there. As we approach the centenary of the events depicted, I hope we can do better by Crean's memory than a pub in County Kerry. Well done to Michael Smith for beginning the process.
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By A Customer on 19 Jun. 2005
Format: Paperback
I fell in love with Tom Crean shortly into the book. The book makes you realise how tragic it is that his heroism has only come to light in the last few years. Others took all the glory for Tom whilst he quietly made his way home to Ireland to live out his years unknown for his feats of bravery. I agree with a previous reviewer who says that anybody with only a tiny interest in Antartic Exploration should read An Unsung Hero. Beautifully written. The best book I've read in several months... Buy it!
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Format: Paperback
An absolutely unbelievable and fascinating account of the life of one of the lesser known pioneers of Antarctica exploration in the early part of the twentieth century. Again and again you question whether or not you are reading fact or fantasy. The book was completely riveting and I couldn't put it down. Michael Smith has constructed a well-written and informative account of the life of Tom Creann, which I would heartily recommend to any person with even a passing interest in Antarctic exploration or indeed any type of adventure stories. A fitting testament to the life of an unassuming and genuine hero.
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