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Academic & Professional Books  Natural History  Biography, Exploration & Travel

An Unsung Hero Tom Crean - Antarctic Survivor

Biography / Memoir
By: Michael Smith(Author)
386 pages, 24 plates with b/w photos; b/w maps
Publisher: Gill & Macmillan
An Unsung Hero
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  • An Unsung Hero ISBN: 9780717189564 Paperback 20th anniversary edition Apr 2020 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
  • An Unsung Hero ISBN: 9781905172863 Paperback Feb 2009 Out of Print #242897
  • An Unsung Hero ISBN: 9780747253570 Hardback Dec 2000 Out of Print #125659
  • An Unsung Hero ISBN: 9780717186457 Hardback 20th anniversary edition Oct 2019 Out of Print #247753
Selected version: £13.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Tom Crean was the indestructible farmer's son from Kerry who sailed on three major expeditions to the unknown Antarctic a century ago. He was among the few men who served with both Captain Robert Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. He spent longer on the ice than either and outlived them both. Everest conqueror, Sir Edmund Hillary said he was a 'great man of immense strength and endurance and afraid of very little'.

Crean was among the last to see Scott alive a few miles from the Pole in 1912. His astonishing 56 km trek to save the life of Lt Evans is the finest act of individual heroism in the history of exploration. He returned to the ice months later to bury Scott. Crean was at the heart of historic events on Shackleton's epic Endurance expedition, which featured the 1,200 km open boat journey and the desperate march across the mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to rescue marooned comrades.

But Tom Crean returned to Ireland during the War of Independence and would never speak about his exploits, taking his incredible story to the grave – until publication of An Unsung Hero, the biography that unearthed his story and saw him rightfully placed among the annals of the great explorers.

The 20th anniversary version is a newly illustrated edition of the bestselling classic is a must for anyone with a taste for adventure.


Acknowledgements 7
Preface 11

A farmer's lad 15
A chance meeting 23
Into the unknown 35
A home on the ice 45
Into the wilderness 55
South again 69
South in a hurricane 81
Hopes and plans 99
The last great land journey 107
A race for life 125
A tragedy foretold 149
Fatal choice 157
A grim search 165
A hero honoured 177
The ice beckons 185
Trapped 199
Cast adrift 211
Launch the boats! 225
A fragile hold on life 235
An epic journey 245
Crossing South Georgia 257
Beyond belief 275
Return to Elephant Island 281
Life and death 291
War, honour, marriage 297
Tom the Pole 305
Memories 317

Endnotes 321
Bibliography 331
Index 337

Customer Reviews


Michael Smith, a former journalist, is an established authority on Polar exploration. His other books are I Am Just Going Outside, a biography of Captain Oates (2002), Polar Crusader about Sir James Wordie (2004), Tom Crean: An Illustrated Life (2006) and Captain Francis Crozier: Last Man Standing? (2006). Michael has also written two books for children, Tom Crean: Ice Man and Shackleton: The Boss. He contributes to TV and radio documentaries and lectures on Polar history.

Biography / Memoir
By: Michael Smith(Author)
386 pages, 24 plates with b/w photos; b/w maps
Publisher: Gill & Macmillan
Media reviews

"A remarkable book about a remarkable man."
Sunday Tribune

"The epic struggles, heroics and the unbelievable hardships of the voyages are wonderfully told."
The Irish Times

"A must for anyone interested in polar exploration."
County Examiner

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