South: The story of Shackletons 1914-1917 Expedition

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by Jimmy_Kranke, Jun 2, 2009.

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  1. I've nearly finished reading Shackleton's account of his 1914 expedition to the Antarctic.

    South: the story of Shackleton's 1914-1917 expedition by Shackleton

    I downloaded the book for free, yes free!! from Project Guttenberg, and have used a Sony E Reader. The e reader is a great bit of kit, although with this kind of book, you really need to be able to quickly study the maps, to get the fullest understanding.

    The book is actually an excellent read. The first few chapters are a bit bone, but once the shit starts to hit the fan, the account becomes quite a page turner. Shackleton writes at his best, when describing moments of absolute terror.

    The expedition left the UK about one week into the Great War. Throughout all their time away, they had no news of the situation at the front, they honestly thought the war had been settled within a few weeks of them leaving in 1914. After their rescue in Aug 1916, many of his men were itching to join the fight in France and Flanders, and indeed some of those men later died on the battlefield. They were remarkable men.

    Shackleton himself died in 1922.

    I quite fancy looking about for another take on the expedition, any ideas?
  2. Jimmy,

    Frank Worsley's book ' Shackleton's Boat Journey' is also good, if a little guarded about the characters involved. Chaps in those days didn't like to emote too much.

    Roland Huntford's biography of Shackleton is a hefty read, picking up on some of his earlier expeditions and the trials and tribulations of fund-raising. In common with many driven leaders, Shackleton doesn't come across as particularly likeable. His relationship with his wife was often strained and her insistence that he was buried on South Georgia may not have been out of affection!

    A good coffee-table book with lots of Hurley's photos is Caroline Alexander's 'The Endurance'.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Thanks MG, and a welcome first post.

    Shackleton does make side references to possible disciplinary issues/character flaws. But as you point out, spouting off about it wasn't the done thing. I seem to remember a Docu/Drama a few years ago with Kenneth Branagh that touched on that element of the expedition.

    I'm now busy trawling through Guttenberg looking for other gems. Perhaps we need a thread that members update when they find decent online e-books. MOD's??
  4. Thanks for the link Jimmy, I've been lucky enough to have visited Shackleton's grave on South Georgia but must admit to not knowing too much about his Expeditions down there so this will be a great insight...

  5. Jimmy - this will interest you:

    All the photos from those early expeditions have been conserved, scanned , and are available on line.

    While you are Gutenberg look for Apsley Cherry-Garrard - he was with Scott on the last trip in 1912, and his book about the expedition is incredible.

    Kind regards


  6. Thanks for the links. I will certainly download the Scott Expedition book, cheers for that.

    Looking at this pic of Shackleton(left) taken in 1921. hard to believe he was 47. He looks about 70!!