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The Lost Men: The Harrowing Saga of…

The Lost Men: The Harrowing Saga of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party (2006)

by Kelly Tyler-Lewis

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A gritty account of what went wrong when Shackleton was not in command. ( )
  michaelwarr | Apr 2, 2014 |
This is a very good book, with a frank view of what it was like to travel to/explore the Antarctic in the early 1900s. The emotions these men experienced were just unreal, and the dangers they faced - off the charts.

The book is similar to "The Worst Journey In The World" in its descriptions of Antarctic life for humans - but perhaps the author of this one was a bit more candid in describing the human interactions. In "Worst Journey", it appeared that relationships were generally harmonious among the party; in "Lost Men", relations among the men were laid bare, and while they generally got along - after all, they had a mission to accomplish - we find that there was also a considerable amount of discord among them, and on various levels. The book showed this through documentation from the party's diaries, some of which were kept scrupulously.

And to think, when all was said-and-done, it turned out this grueling human effort by the Ross Sea party was essentially unnecessary, since Shackleton never even disembarked on the other side of the continent. Of course, they had no way of knowing this with the non-existent communications of that era, and they were determined to accomplish the task set before them. And, that they did... amazingly.

Readers who don't mind a lot of attention to detail will like this book; and I highly recommend it for those who like adventure-type settings, with often-graphic descriptions of the effects of surviving in such a harsh environment. ( )
1 vote PlantStrong | Aug 2, 2013 |
The descriptions of the conditions alone would make anyone wonder - why do this?

This was a wonderful story of a period of time when we were truly explorers. ( )
1 vote suefitz1 | Apr 3, 2013 |
Tyler-Lewis has probably written the definitive account of this expedition. Her command of the sources is impressive and she brings to light a lot of new material. More so she focuses on the relationships between the expedition members, which ultimately is the most useful reason for reading these types of accounts, as lessons in leadership and group dynamics under difficult conditions that can be applied to our own lives. Ultimately though it lacks heroes, even when looked at with sympathy, so it doesn't have the epic feel of Scott or Shackleton. This is not surprising, most of the members were younger and of the "Lost Generation" (b. 1880-1900). It was the generation or two before them who would be heroes (Scott and Shackleton), who would cast a shadow over the "Lost" men of the Lost generation. Although ultimately this expedition paid a higher price than Shackleton's did (people died and they were under more severe physical hardship), and even though they accomplished their goal, unlike Shakcleton who never even set foot on Antarctica, they did so in a somewhat non-heroic manner, as the support team for Shackleton. Likewise Tyler-Lewis' book, while a model of historical scholarship, will linger on the shelves of specialists and hobbyist's but probably never break out into the wider audience like the larger than life stories of Shackleton and Scott.

--Review by Stephen Balbach, via CoolReading (c) 2008 cc-by-nd ( )
  Stbalbach | Jan 24, 2009 |
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By March 20, 1916, the earliest days of the Great War were fading from memory. (Preface)
"Men go out into the void spaces of the world for various reasons," Sire Ernest Shackleton declared. (Chapter 1)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670034126, Hardcover)

The harrowing tale of the Ross Sea party, the other side of Shackleton's Endurance expedition

In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton sailed south aboard the Endurance to make history by crossing the Antarctic continent. Shackleton's story is legend, but few know the heroic epic of the Ross Sea party, Shackleton's support group dispatched to the other side of the continent to build a lifeline of food and fuel depots to bear his crossing.

"I had not anticipated that the work would present any great difficulties," Shackleton wrote. Yet everything went tragically wrong when the Ross Sea ship, the Aurora, tore free of her moorings and disappeared in a gale, leaving ten men marooned with only the clothes on their backs and few provisions. With little hope of rescue from a world embroiled in World War I, the men decided to accomplish their mission against all odds.

Long overshadowed by the mission these men bargained their lives to sustain, this heartrending story of survival against all odds now gets its due in this definitive, surprising account of the last journey of the Heroic Age of polar exploration.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:48 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An account of the support group that was dispatched to assist Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914 crossing of the Antarctic describes how the Ross Sea ship was lost in a gale, stranding ten men without supplies or a hope of rescue.

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