456 pages, 30 b/w photos, 10 maps
Ernest Shackleton is one of history's great explorers, an extraordinary character who pioneered the path to the South Pole over 100 years ago and became a dominant figure in Antarctic discovery. A charismatic personality, his incredible adventures on four expeditions have captivated generations and inspired a dynamic, modern following in business leadership. None more so than the Endurance mission, where Shackleton's commanding presence saved the lives of his crew when their ship was crushed by ice and they were turned out on to the savage frozen landscape.
But Shackleton was a flawed character whose chaotic private life, marked by romantic affairs, unfulfilled ambitions, overwhelming debts and failed business ventures, contrasted with his celebrity status as a leading explorer. Drawing on extensive research of original diaries and personal correspondence, Michael Smith's definitive biography brings a fresh perspective to our understanding of this complex man and the heroic age of polar exploration.
"a fresh perspective [...] very readable [...] Smith's research has uncovered some interesting side stories"
– Good Book Guide
"fast-moving and gripping [...] Michael Smith's biography shows us a complex multi-faceted man"
– Scottish Review of Books
"Diligently researched with extensive quotation [...] a welcome addition to the library of the polar aficionado"
– Literary Review
"Smith's research is detailed and meticulous [...] fascinating [...] [He] tells [the story] with passion and commitment."
– History Revealed
"A fascinating book – warm, complex, engaging – just like the man himself. This absorbing new biography strips away the myths and misconceptions to reveal one of the twentieth century's most important explorers in all his flawed genius."
– Mick Conefrey, author of Everest, 1953t
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Michael Smith, a former journalist, is an established authority on polar exploration. He has written a number of books including An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean Antarctic Survivor, which was short-listed for the Banff Mountain Book Festival 2002. The illustrated version was shortlisted for the Irish Published Book of the Year 2007. He contributes to TV and radio documentaries and lectures on polar history.