An authoritative biography of Sir Ernest Shackleton from polar adventurer Ranulph Fiennes. In 1915, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s attempt to traverse the Antarctic was cut short when his ship, Endurance, became trapped in ice. The disaster left Shackleton and his men alone at the frozen South Pole, fighting for their lives. Their survival and escape is the most famous adventure in history. Shackleton is an engaging new account of the adventurer, his life and his incredible leadership under the most extreme of circumstances. Written by polar adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes who followed in Shackleton’s footsteps, he brings his own unique insights to bear on these infamous expeditions. Shackleton is both re-appraisal and a valediction, separating the man from the myth he has become.
Yet another biography of Sir Ernest, this time written by a bloke who’s walked in his footsteps. This lends a sound credibility to the analyses of the good, bad and (sometimes) ugly decisions made by these wild Edwardian adventurers who were at the absolute pioneering stage of polar exploration. Fiennes’ admiration for his hero in Shackleton is obvious, but he doesn’t fawn over him, discussing both the man’s faults and his heroics and very aptly explaining the colonial environment at the time.
In an age of cancel culture, it’s refreshing to see a man presented as both an admirable hero — forging a path for human discovery in the face of incredible odds — and a tragic figure — womanising, unreliable with money, and seen as a failure in his time — without demanding the reader choose one or the other. Humans are complex. Shackleton was very human, but achieved superhuman feats.
A very nice read.