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Shackleton: By Endurance We Conquer review: the great explorer, warts and all
Max Jones is the author of The Last Great Quest: Captain Scott's Antarctic Sacrifice, an examination of the enduring appeal of the Scott story, the drive to explore hostile environments and the nature of heroism. The title of Cherry-Garrard's account of Scott's last Antarctic expedition refers not to the polar journey, but to the trek he endured with Edward Wilson and Henry Bowers in search of the eggs of the emperor penguin. The three men barely survived the first journey ever attempted during an Antarctic winter, experiencing temperatures as low as Mourning for his lost friends, disillusioned by war and assisted by his neighbour George Bernard Shaw, Cherry-Garrard composed a work which transcends the confines of the expedition to offer a powerful meditation on the nature of exploration and intellectual curiosity in the modern world. The Right Stuff brilliantly captures the mentality of the first American astronauts and the nation which venerated their exploits at the height of the cold war. Wolfe is particularly good at charting the insular social world of the astronauts and their wives.
In , as the shadow of war falls across Europe, a party led by veteran explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton sets out to become the first to traverse the Antarctic continent. Their initial optimism is short-lived, however, as the ice field slowly thickens, encasing the ship Endurance in a death-grip, crushing their craft, and marooning 28 men on a ploar ice floe. An imaginative, brilliantly realized evocation of the thoughts and voices of Captain Scott and the four men with him, who suffered extraordinary hardships before finally dying during their attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole.
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