In November 1915, Sir Ernest Shackleton watched horrified as the grinding ice floes of the Weddell Sea squeezed the life from his ship, Endurance. Caught in the chaos of splintered wood, buckled metalwork and tangled rigging lay Shackleton's dream of being the first man to complete the crossing of Antarctica. Shackleton would not live to make a second attempt – but his dream endured.
Shackleton's Dream tells for the first time the story of the British Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, led by Vivian Fuchs and Sir Edmund Hillary. Forty years after the loss of Endurance, they set out to succeed where Shackleton had so heroically failed. Using tracked vehicles and converted farm tractors in place of Shackleton's man-hauled sledges, they faced a colossal challenge: a perilous 2,000-mile journey across the most demanding landscape on the planet.
This epic adventure saw two giants of twentieth-century exploration pitted not only against Nature at her most hostile, but also against each other. Planned as a historic (and scientific) continental crossing, the expedition would eventually develop into a dramatic 'Race to the South Pole' – a contest as controversial as that of Scott and Amundsen more than four decades earlier.
Stephen Haddelsey is the author of many books on Antarctic exploration history, including Ice Captain, Born Adventurer and Icy Graves, as well as other topics. He lives in Nottinghamshire.
"Haddelsey's Shackleton's Dream is a timely and compelling study of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition. It should go a very long way to redress the balance. Unless new material comes to light in future years, this fine book will surely remain a definitive work. Without question, the Bunny Fuchs's astonishing expedition deserves such a book as this."
– Stephen Scott-Fawcett, Journal of James Caird Society (the premier Shackleton society) in March 2012
"The heroic story of a Cambridge explore's death-defying trek across Antarctica has been retold nearly sixty years on. In the 1950s, Sir Vivian Fuchs, accompanied by the conqueror of Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary, led a remarkable mission to cross the frozen wastes of Antrctica. Today fuchs is all but forgotten – a travesty given his enormous achievements in Antarctica which, in the eyes of some, far exceed those of Scott, Shackleton and others. The story of the expedition is extraordinary, not least for the clash of personalities between Fuchs and his second in command, Hillary [...] .the explorer, who went on to become the director of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, and who died in 1999, spoke about his brushes with death, including the Snocat escape. He said 'I was lucky – I managed to get out on to the roof. But to be honest, I was more concerned about how to get the vehicle across to the other side'."
– Cambridge News
"A thoroughly researched, well-referenced look at 'the lasy great journey on earth'. Despite having no direct correlation to the Scott centenary, Haddelsey's account of the battle of wills between Vivian Fuchs and Everest-hero Edmund Hillary is so lovingly crafted as to deserve its place on the heaving Antarctic bookshelf. Rather than relying on previously published literature on the 1955-58 expedition, the author conducted interviews with survivors Ken Blaiklock, Richard Brooke, John Claydon, Rainer Goldsmith and Roy Homard. He also references the personal diaries of Fuchs, Hal Lister and George Lowe. This is a gem, which should not have remained unpublished until today. Just don't read it if you hold a candle to Hillary – there is no love lost in this storytelling."
"'Extraordinary. A story that will prove to anyone who doubts it, that courage, determination, danger and disaster remain as much a part of Antarctic exploration in the Modern Age as in the Heroic Era"
– Sir Ranulph Fiennes