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Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of… (original 1998; edition 2000)

by Jennifer Armstrong

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46811122,128 (4.15)5
Member:kgeorge
Title:Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance
Authors:Jennifer Armstrong
Info:Crown Books for Young Readers (2000), Edition: 1st Pbk. Ed, Paperback, 144 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:non-fiction, biography, 900s, pps 144, 6 - 12, history

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Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance by Jennifer Armstrong (1998)

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Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
While I have not finished this book but what I have read, I have enjoyed so far. It is an inspirational story of 27 brave men and their will to stay alive. I enjoyed flipping through the pictures and reading the descriptive captions. I feel this book would be a great read for a middle school aged student. I feel this age grop would really like reading about this story. Teachers could use this informational text within their classroom for a science (discuss weather/ climate conditions), socail studies (locating areas on the map), and perhaps a character building lesson on bravery and friendship.
  dbushnell3 | May 6, 2014 |
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World was a pretty interesting read. It tells the story of how Schackleton’s grand plans to be the first to travel the length of the Antarctic turned into a cold, wet, and miserable experience for him and his crew. Yet they managed to make the best of it and persevere, eventually being rescued. I was surprised that none of the crew died. I think it could be used in a classroom as a way to encourage creative writing pieces in students, or a lesson involving sensory language. Although I can’t say that I am in love with this book, I think that Jennifer Armstrong has a talent for descriptive writing, even from the start of the book, her just imagine section. It wasn’t always a pretty picture that she painted (it was often ugly and quite smelly too), but she did a great job of it. I did think that there were a lot of terms that students will find puzzling that could have been defined in a glossary of terms. That would have added something to the value of this book for me. I did love the pictures! I mean they really speak volumes, and I felt grateful to get such an insight into this great (mis) adventure that Shackleton and the rest of the Endurance crew had undergone. Aside from the photographs and wonderful detail, what I love best about this book was the ingenious ways that Shackleton managed to save his crew--from bordem, as well as starvation and death. ( )
  epenton | May 5, 2014 |
"Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance" is actually about three survival stories in one, involving Captain Ernest Shackleton and his expedition to Antarctica - any one of which would have been worthy of its own book. And the most amazing part is that despite the unfathomable hardships, everyone came back alive. The incredible photographic plates that the team took and then saved while they were trying to survive are what make the story come alive. ( )
  jpmeehan | May 5, 2014 |
"Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World" by Jennifer Armstrong details the journey of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition and "The Boss," Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton. The story is extremely interesting and detailed, and I can see it being used to serve two different purposes in a classroom: first, as an example and endorsement of the importance of documentation of events; second, used as a text connected to the theme of leadership.

I was most impressed with the expedition's documentation of their journey. The fact that Ms. Armstrong has so many pictures and stories to tell of what would have been a horrific and boring year of survival is a testament to the documentation skills of the crew. The story of carefully selecting which 150 photo negatives to save from the ship out of 400 is just one example of this. Unsurprisingly in the book, as survival becomes more difficult, supplies dwindle, and hope is more waning, there are fewer photographs in the book. But still much is mentioned about the crew attempting to write diary entries. Indeed, we would not have much of the information in this book about this expedition had the crew not documented so well. I wish the author had included more maps, but it would seem the author attempted only to use primary photograph and maps sources. Some maps earlier would have been helpful. Additionally, further research would indicate that the photograph on page 122 that says, "Saved!" is actually a photograph of the James Caird leaving, not them being saved, which also seems apparent given the size of the boat coming into the island for them, and that we seem to be looking at the back of the boat. The other photograph that may have been better-chosen is the one on page 38. While the author is careful to acknowledge the historical insensitivity of the person in blackface, the value the photograph provides to the story does not outweigh the distraction and repulsion it causes.

As a story about leadership, the quote on p. 9 explains everything about Shackleton: "'Aye, he's a fine leader, he is,' Cheetham replied. 'He don't run you into any danger if he can help it; buy, by gum! if there's danger, he goes first.'" The examples of leadership Shackleton displays throughout the story is remarkable. The way he occupies his crew's minds and gives them tasks could be converted to a classroom setting, that students, too, must complete their tasks for the sake of the class. The way Shackleton prevents mutiny by carefully reading the words of the Ship's Articles was impressive. Shackleton's ability to rotate people into different tents is an example of the need for teachers to rotate students around to avoid quarrels. And finally, Shackleton's ability to take the difficult parts of journeys, and select just the right people to help him, is critical. That nobody on the expedition died is a remarkable achievement.

Overall, I appreciated this book and the story it told. This story has value in a classroom setting, and a teacher could get a lot out of students with this story. ( )
  JonathanToups | May 4, 2014 |
Jennifer Armstrong’s Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World tells the frightening, though sometimes humorous and ultimately triumphant tale of the Endurance ship captain and his crew who braved the Antarctic to ensure their safe return home.

Stranded by ice, the men spent a year and a half of their lives facing tragedy, uncertainty and an at times relentless mother earth.
With a narrative like this, it could have been easy drift into boring, monotonous writing, as the men were stuck in nature for a very long time with not much to do. However, Armstrong interrupts the lengthy tale with comedic relief, revealing the guys’ games and practical jokes in which they participate to pass time and maintain their spirits.

The text begins with a list of the 28 brave men, followed by diagrams of the ship, maps of the Antarctic and a “just imagine” scenario from the author to ask readers to picture themselves in this scary situation. Readers then get background info about the expedition and the book dives right into the fight. There are journal entries, navigation instructions about reading the sun and wonderful photos taken by the ship’s photographer. The placement of the photos was obviously well thought out.They only appear in the book when the text refers to what is happening at a certain time. And the captions provide further information.


When the men first set off on their expedition, there are several shots of normal, everyday life and routines on the ship. As the story progresses, the photographer documents every step but there are less photos the closer the reader gets to the story’s conclusion. But there is no loss of interest. Though the black & white photos contribute greatly to the story, their absence does not leave a void. The space is filled with more detailed information.
The book ends with a wonderfully rewarding epilogue about the crew’s life after the voyage. The ultimate wrap up is the set of photo at the end which picture 1.the entire crew upon their return to safety --the caption reads “Saved!”-- and 2.a photo of the crew after their rescue with their names listed to caption the work.
The bibliography is extensive and divided by primary and secondary sources including periodicals, first-hand accounts from Shackleton and resources on Antarctica, navigation and general. The index is accessible and useful, but it would have been great to include a glossary of terms for younger readers.
  kljohns8 | Apr 29, 2014 |
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For Jim: I'd go to the ends of the earth for you.
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Just imagine yourself in the most hostile place on earth.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375810498, Paperback)

The harrowing survival story of English explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and the ill-fated Endurance has intrigued people since the 1914 expedition--spurring astounding books such as Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage and The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition. As Shackleton and 27 sailors attempted to cross the frozen Antarctic continent from one side to the other, they were trapped in an ice pack, lost their ship to the icy depths, survived an Antarctic winter, escaped attacks from sea lions, and traversed 600 treacherous miles to the uninhabited Elephant Island. Leaving 22 men behind, Shackleton and five others sailed 800 miles across the southern Atlantic Ocean in a 20-foot open boat to tiny South George Island, where they hiked across unmapped mountains to a whaling station. In 1916, 19 months after the Endurance became icebound, Shackleton led a rescue party back to retrieve his men. Remarkably, every crew member survived.

Jennifer Armstrong, the award-winning author of Black-Eyed Susan and The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan, brings the unbelievable journey to life with delicious details: how a handsome young stowaway was discovered too late to cast him off; how the ship itself would become frost-white, looking like "another species of sparkling white iceberg as it nosed its way through the pack;" and how the ice-pack-dwelling Emperor penguins seemed to enjoy the banjo music of crew member Leonard Hussey. The true-to-life story is as thrilling as they come, and Armstrong's lively, crystal-clear writing style is just as compelling. More than 40 photographs of the expedition populate this inspiring nonfiction adventure story that young readers will devour from cover to cover. (Ages 10 to 14) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:07 -0400)

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"Describes the events of the 1914 Shackleton Antarctic expedition when, after being trapped in a frozen sea for nine months, their ship, Endurance, was finally crushed, forcing Shackleton and his men to make a very long and perilous journey across ice and stormy seas to reach inhabited land."… (more)

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