These thrilling, true-life tales of the brave men who tried, and sometimes failed, to conquer the Antarctic are fascinating.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage (5/5 stars, currently priced at $11.99)
Bound for Antarctica, where polar explorer Ernest Shackleton planned to cross on foot the last uncharted continent, the Endurance set sail from England in August 1914. In January 1915, after battling its way for six weeks through a thousand miles of pack ice and only a day’s sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. For ten months the ice-moored Endurance drifted northwest before it was finally crushed. But for Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men, the ordeal had barely begun. It would end only after a miraculous journey through more than 850 miles of the South Atlantic’s heaviest seas to the closest outpost of civilization.
In Endurance, the definitive account of Shackleton’s fateful trip, Alfred Lansing brilliantly narrates the harrowing voyage that has defined heroism for the last century.
Tom Crean – An Unsung Hero: Antarctic Survivor (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $8.99)
This story reveals the remarkable Tom Crean, who ran away to sea aged 15 and played a memorable role in Antarctic exploration.
He spent more time in the unexplored Antarctic than Scott or Shackleton, was one of the few to serve both and outlive both. Among the last to see Scott alive only 150 miles from the South Pole he was in the search party which found the frozen body.
Tom joined Shackleton’s Endurance expedition as the first shots of World War 1 were fired. In a most extraordinary feat of survival, Crean sailed the violent Southern Ocean in an open boat and made the first crossing of the glaciers of South Georgia to rescue his stranded comrades 800 miles away.
Crean returned to Ireland, married and built a pub, the South Pole Inn in Anascaul, Co.
Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $9.99)
“An important missing story from the heroic age of Antarctic exploration.”—Laurence Gonzales, author of Deep Survival
On January 17, 1913, alone and near starvation, Douglas Mawson, leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, was hauling a sledge to get back to base camp. The dogs were gone. Now Mawson himself plunged through a snow bridge, dangling over an abyss by the sledge harness. A line of poetry gave him the will to haul himself back to the surface.
Mawson was sometimes reduced to crawling, and one night he discovered that the soles of his feet had completely detached from the flesh beneath. On February 8, when he staggered back to base, his features unrecognizably skeletal, the first teammate to reach him blurted out, “Which one are you?”
This thrilling and almost unbelievable account establishes Mawson in his rightful place as one of the greatest polar explorers and expedition leaders. It is illustrated by a trove of Frank Hurley’s famous Antarctic photographs, many never before published in the United States.
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