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Poseidon Expeditions Book Club: Shackleton's Expedition Diary

Polar expedition book club

Currently, public and social life is standing still. And at Poseidon Expeditions, too, with almost all our colleagues currently work in the "home office" and practicing social distancing. For our marketing manager and avid bookworm Christian Hoppe, this is a perfect opportunity to realize a project that he’s had in mind for a long time: The Poseidon Expeditions Book Club.


As we go forward through this uncertain period, we’d like to present here in the Poseidon Expeditions Blog a selection of books related to the polar world that we believe are definitely worth reading. Books that inspire the desire to discover, travel and experience adventure in the icy realms. Christian is the first to start, featuring Ernest Shackleton's expedition report, South: The Endurance Expedition.

Shackleton's ambitious plan for a Trans-Antarctic expedition

In 1914 the British polar explorer Ernest Shackleton announced an ambitious plan: a Trans-Antarctic expedition – the first journey through Antarctica from the Atlantic to the Pacific via the South Pole. It would be Shackleton's third expedition to the White Continent. It was destined to be adventurous – and very dangerous.

Narrated by Shackleton in his own words, the book is the remarkable tale of this epic expedition. The unique photographs taken by expedition photographer Frank Hurley further illustrate what’s described by “The Boss”.

An Antarctic adventure packed with challenges and hazards

The story begins on the eve of the Great War, when the ship Endurance, with Shackleton and his team aboard, set sail from England. Starting on the Atlantic side of Antarctica, the daring plan was to travel almost 3,000 kilometers across the frozen Antarctic continent. Meanwhile, a second team was to reach the Pacific side of Antarctica from Tasmania on the ship Aurora and from there to set up supply depots for the advancing crew.

However, when approaching the continent, the Endurance was quickly confronted with massive ice floes and the ship was soon hopelessly trapped. It was the beginning of a crazy series of struggles for the men of the Endurance, including survival on ice-covered mountainous islands, harrowing days in a hurricane-swept lifeboat, and the defiant crossing of untried overland routes. Today, South is rightfully considered a classic of expedition literature and is the truly impressive story of a breathtaking polar expedition.

Shackleton's Expedition Diary

A captivating expedition diary that will not be laid aside

As I read this book, I often found myself with the proverbial open mouth, and could hardly put it aside. It remains an incredible feat what Shackleton and his men were able to accomplish during those years they were cut off from all civilization and any sense of normalcy. It’s even more incredible that they ALL survived. Reinhold Messner, the famous Italian mountaineer, explorer, and author talks about "...real heroism" in his foreword to the German edition which I read. After finishing reading South, I give it the highest rating and encourage anyone interested in the Heroic Era of Antarctic discovery to explore its pages.

Have you got a Polar book tip as well? We would be delighted to get your recommendation.


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