Polar reads: South by Ernest Shackleton
By Federico Gargiulo
South is the story of the famous Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, led by Sir Ernest Shackleton, as told by himself.
Feeling that the pride of his homeland, Great Britain, was lost by not being the first country to reach the Geographic South Pole — the Norwegian Roald Amundsen had conquered it in 1911 — Shackleton planned an extremely ambitious adventure that had not yet been accomplished. Not only did he intend to reach the South Pole but he also dreamed of crossing the vast white continent, from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea, a total distance of more than 2900 kilometres.
At the beginning of the First World War, in 1914, the expedition left on board the Endurance. However, weather conditions that year were more severe than usual, and his powerful ship was trapped under the implacable pressure of the ice packs. Unable to do anything to save their ship, the brave crew abandoned her and witnessed her destruction in the unbreakable clutches of the immense frozen mass.
From that moment on, Shackleton and his men had to fight against the hostile weather and find a way to be rescued. Shackleton showed his courage and resolution — his name is invoked even today as an example of great leadership — as he dared undertake dangerous exploits such as navigating furious seas in a 23-foot boat and traversing nonstop for 36 hours the challenging mountains and glaciers of South Georgia Island.
South is not a mere historical chronicle; this book is a testament to one of the greatest survival stories of all time.
South: the Story of Shackleton’s Last Expedition 1914-1917 by Ernest Shackleton is available through Südpol (price: $22). Shipping worldwide.