Superb book, compelling read., I have a bookshelf that groans under the weight of masses about Antarctica. No one has forgotten the Nimrod Expedition that knows something about the "Heroic Era", so I found it to be at minimum presumptuous. So let's reach the critique: Riffenburgh in the beginning concentrates on the historical context, the post-Victorian Edwardian Era of the UK, which was gratifying. We didn't know that the Presbyterian elite that reigned over Ireland were called "the Pale". From that We assumed the origin of the expression "beyond the pale". Purely a synthesis on my part. After that, I was happy to hear about the comparatively numerous encounters with orcas on the sea ice. Previously I would only heard about professional photographer Ponting's "close call" on the ice floes. We submit that we were holding only curious, having never seen humans before. It had been clear from the narrative the killer's engaged in much "periscoping", hauling their higher bodies out of the water and "scoping out" these weird new things. Since there has never been a documented account of killer whales - in the wild -attacking a human being, We prefer to believe these early 20th century types assumed a nefarious objective on the whales' part where perhaps none been around. Now that we know far more about them I suspect the explorer's worries were overblown. Within an orca's case, Now i'm pretty sure they did not think these guys were seals. In other information, killer whales exist in Antarctica. That would make them pole-to-pole mammalian potential predators. If I was them, maybe I'd want to knock one of these boys to the water so I could echo-sound 'em with my primary messfühler. Just my theory. The particular author addresses, but does not dwell on, the agony that is man-hauling. That was fine with myself, I'd already been through it in previous books. For those that, caloric requirements, cold's effect on the individual body, read "Race for the Pole" by Ranulph Fiennes. To really wallow in it, read Roland Huntford's stuff. When We started reading on this subject the pickings were pretty thin (early 90's). Now, I can't keep up with the books being written. Perhaps that's the Discovery Channel, and Nature Route, March of the Polar bears, etc ad infinitum. Now, what I want to see is an effort to recuperate the tracked vehicle that sank through the snow in the bay - it's only 600 ft deep. Bring that thing up. It would appear that the Jeff and Shackleton expeditions lead in the first caterpillar-tracked vehicle ever invented. The author adds a few components of new knowledge while luckily avoiding as much as possible well-trodden ground. We was primed for more Scott-bashing; he avoids it though I sensed he or she wished to. Read this simply to add to your knowledge, if such is your bent, about Antarctic exploration. To learn everything which been written about it requires this; synthesize your own opinions only after your own bookshelf is stuffed with this research, done for you at little cost, and for that, my hat is off to the author and the rest. BTW, if burning icecaps drowns our coastal cities, perhaps an ameliorating factor would be that Antarctica would become the most beautiful place in the planet, like Alaska's inside passage, only a lot more of it. Nature always balances the books., After reading this book I unexpectedbly became an Ernest Shackleton and Antarctic exploration fan. Next I read The Dropped Men and am reading Endurance. This is a thorough history that reads like an adventure novel. Highly recommended!, A well researched and informative publication. Written by an evident fan of Shackleton's deeds the author paints a picture of endurance, drive and perseverance, qualities which are well known to visitors of Shackleton's adventures., A well written book on a journey that is little written about. Should info is taken from Shackleton's own book on the expedition. Enjoyed it thoroughly!, extraordinary story of iron willed men, shackleton is the man, Great read., It does state that this author is an vem som st?r, so that explains how he writes. But, to me, there was just WAY too much extended history of years & years & extended empires, which supposedly influenced Shackleton. It does not interest me, so We were required to skip large sums of text. FINALLY Buck 11, on pg 129 (of 312 pgs), amounts it up: " Ongoing at Last"!!! ---but even that was rather sluggish. The rest of the book was alright, but after reading numerous related Shackleton adventures that i could not put down, this did rather drag along. Nonetheless, it does round out his life some more, detailing events besides his most memorable " successful failure" of the Endurance! That reminds myself of Apollo 13!
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