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Shackleton's Stowaway by Victoria McKernan

Shackleton's Stowaway

by Victoria McKernan

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    Voyage of Ice by Michele Torrey (joririchardson)
    joririchardson: Both are similar books about explorers stranded in the Arctic.

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Fantastic tale of disaster and survival, based on the explorer Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. McKernan has done her research, but also felt free to invent journal entries, conversations and interior thoughts, all of which helps one really experience the cold and the dirt (and feel the extreme panic, fear and courage exhibited by the stranded crew). And the next time I feel like ranting and raving about some little complaint, I'll think of Shackleton and regain some much-needed perspective! ( )
  bostonian71 | Nov 3, 2014 |
Shackleton's Stowaway by Victoria McKernan is an absorbing book about one of Shakleton's expeditions to Antarctica. It aptly tells the tale of Perce Blackborrow's stowing away on Shakleton's Endurance. As they get closer to Antarctica, the weather gets colder and the ice bergs get bigger and more plentiful.

As they near Antarctica, the ice bergs close in and ultimately the ship gets ice bound. The sailors make do with what they have and take to beating penguins to death for food. As one point, Shakleton decides that they must leave the Endurance, as it is close to sinking, and they make camp on an ice berg. Ultimately, they must travel and they push and pull life boats in the hopes that one day a lane will open up and they will be able to sail.

They finally get to Elephant Island and find some sort of shelter. Shakleton and several sailors attempt to make it to South Georgia Island, in the hopes of finding a ship that will rescue the ramining crew. It too 6 months for him to finally achieve his rescue goal.

McKernan describes the horrendous conditions in which the sailors lived...the cold, lack of variety in their food, constant freezing rains and shows which froze the ship's sails, the sailor's clothes, everything. She describes them sleeping in wet sleeping bags wearing all their clothes, including their shoes because once off, they'd be hard to put back on. On Elephant's Island they'd sleep under and overturned boat for shelter. Perce ultimately got frostbite and lost his toes. Surgery was done in the open, in terrible conditions.

I read this book and feared that every time I went outside it would be sub zero weather. That's how good McKernan's description of the elements was.

The comaraderie amongst sailors, even under such dire circumstances, was amazing. Their admiration of Shakleton never wavered. They'd find things to do to pass the time: read, sing, talk over and over about the same things such as food, what they'd do once they were home. And, extraordinarly, most of them made it home.

If you're looking for a great adventure book, Shackleton's Stowaway is definitely a book to read. ( )
1 vote EdGoldberg | Oct 31, 2010 |
This book is a great representation of survival in the olden times, these are the books I love the most which is exploration and voyages in historical times. It sets place in the glacier land of Antarctica where the boat that Perce Blackborrow was on was stranded in the middle of the glacier and frozen continent of Antarctica. You might think that's adventurous but when you look into how they survived it is actually quite amazing how they pulled it off. Everyday they would take pikes and cut chunks of ice blocks off so that the Endurance their boat doesn't succumb to all the ice. This is a fascinating story that reflects historical exploration in the olden times and they were stranded for years. ( )
  Trizk | Sep 15, 2010 |
Fun, exciting read. Although now I wish I'd read Shackleton's nonfiction version. ( )
  wmshub | Mar 5, 2009 |
Blackborow's voyage

reimagined in fine book.

I recommend it.
  librarianlk | Aug 5, 2008 |
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For Oliver and Sylvia, who will stow away somewhere, sometime, and for Tom and Sue, who will let them. - V.M.
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I am warm.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440419840, Mass Market Paperback)

On October 26, 1914, Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance set sail from Buenos Aires in pursuit of the last unclaimed prize in exploration: the crossing of the Antarctic continent. The crew stood on deck to watch the city fade away. All but one.

Eighteen-year-old Perce Blackborow hid below in a locker. But the thrill of stowing away with the legendary explorer would soon turn to fear. Within months, the Endurance, trapped and crushed by ice, sank. And even Perce, the youngest member of the stranded crew, knew there was no hope of rescue. If the men were to survive in the most hostile place on earth, they would have to do it on their own.

Victoria McKernan deftly weaves the hard-to-fathom facts of this famous voyage into an epic, edge-of-your-seat survival novel.

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:53 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A fictionalized account of the adventures of eighteen-year-old Perce Blackborow, who stowed away for the 1914 Shackleton Antarctic expedition and, after their ship Endurance was crushed by ice, endured many hardships, including the loss of the toes of his left foot to frostbite, during the nearly two-year return journey across sea and ice.… (more)

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