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Ernest Shackleton (1874–1922)

Author of South: The Endurance Expedition

22+ Works 2,510 Members 51 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Disambiguation Notice:

Please do not combine this author page with the E. H. Shackleton author page, (as there is another author called E. H. Shackleton), nor with any form of the name Lord Shackleton, as that refers to Ernest's son Edward.

Image credit: Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Works by Ernest Shackleton

South: The Endurance Expedition (1919) 1,866 copies
Aurora Australis (1986) 60 copies

Associated Works

The Mammoth Book of Travel in Dangerous Places (1991) — Contributor — 176 copies
Ice: Stories of Survival from Polar Exploration (1999) — Contributor — 60 copies
The Book of the Sea (1954) — Contributor — 36 copies
The Best Sea Stories (1986) — Contributor — 21 copies
The Penguin Book of the Ocean (2010) — Contributor — 20 copies
Great Sea Stories of Modern Times (1953) — Contributor — 6 copies
Stories of the Sea — Contributor — 4 copies


Common Knowledge

Legal name
Shackleton, Sir Ernest Henry
Other names
Shackleton, Sir Ernest
Date of death
Burial location
Norwegian Cemetery, Grytviken, South Georgia
Country (for map)
Kilkea, County Kildare, Ireland, UK
Cause of death
atheroma of the coronary arteries
Places of residence
County Kildare, Ireland, UK
Dublin, Ireland, UK
Sydenham, England, UK
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
London, England, UK
Dulwich College, London
Antarctic explorer
mercantile marine
Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve
Major, British Army
Master Mariner
journalist (show all 7)
public lecturer
Leadbeater, Mary (great-greataunt)
Shackleton, Edward (son - Lord Shackleton)
British Army
Royal Navy Reserves
National Antarctic Expedition
Royal Scottish Geographical Society
British Antarctic Expedition
Imperial Trans-Arctic Expedition (show all 8)
North Russia Expeditionary Force
Shackleton-Rowlett Expedition
Awards and honors
Royal Victorian Order, 4th class (1907), Commander (1909)
Knighthood (1909)
Polar Metal ( [1904, 1909, 1917])
Vega Medal (1910)
Royal Geographical Society, Gold Medal (1909)
Order of the British Empire (1919)
Short biography
Wrote "O.H.M.S. An Illustrated Record of the Voyage of S.S. Tintagel Castle" as a young man. Served under Scott on Discovery on the British National Antarctic Expedition and accompanied Scott to attain the then furthest south. Attained a new furthest south, commanding his own expedition in the Nimrod, and recorded his experiences in "The Heart of the Antarctic" and edited and contributed to a book printed in the Antarctic "Aurora Australis". His best known expedition was to be a transcontinental traverse of Antarctica but his ship, the Endurance, was crush in the ice and he never made landfall. He and his men lived on ice floes and eventually took a perilous journey in small boats to make landfall. Shacklton then led a much smaller party in a single small boat through the roughest seas on earth and crossed an uncharted mountainous island to reach help. His record of this epic struggle for survival is presented in his book "South".

Served as an officer under Captain Scott on the Discovery expedition (British National Antarctic Expedition) in which he accompanied Scott to the then furthest south. Organized his own expedition on the ship Nimrod and attained a new furthest south record and his story of the expedition was published as "The Heart of the Antarctic." Then, after Scott died on his return trip from the south pole, Shackleton organized his best known expedition on the Endurance to attempt a first transcontinental crossing of Antarctica. The Endurance was crushed in the polar ice, he never reached land, but he brought his men through a brutal and dangerous test of endurance living on ice floes. Eventually he survived an epic small boat trip through the roughest seas on earth and a crossing of uncharted mountains to bring help to his stranded men and tells his tale in the book "South." Also edited and contributed to "Aurora Austrialis" printed in the Antarctic and as a young man wrote "O.H.M.S. An Illustrated Record of the Voyage of S.S. 'Tintagel Castle'.
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine this author page with the E. H. Shackleton author page, (as there is another author called E. H. Shackleton), nor with any form of the name Lord Shackleton, as that refers to Ernest's son Edward.



New LE: Aurora Australis in Folio Society Devotees (March 2022)


As I am building the model of the Endurance, I must at least try to read this account of the entire expedition including the amazing survival story of the entire crew.
derailer | 39 other reviews | May 6, 2024 |
A beautifully illustrated and bound book with very many archive photographs and some beautiful watercolours all taken or done during the expedition. A very exciting account of the attempt to reach the South Pole and fascinating accounts of the science and landscape encountered plus the realities of daily life and how the expedition was planned
Joe_Gargery | 1 other review | Jan 17, 2024 |
A most fascinating piece of history, written up by Ernest from the diaries, logs and journals that survived his calamitous attempt at crossing the Antarctic.   It seems that if it could have gone wrong, it did go wrong.

There's that all pervasive, Victorian attitude of bloody minded, arrogant perseverance throughout this book, and it certainly feels that that is all that kept these people alive, but it's also what got them into the mess in the first place.

Having been beaten to be the first to get to the South Pole by Roald Amundsen, Shackleton decided to turn his sights on being the first to cross the Antarctic.   It certainly seems to me that this need to be the first, to always be proving that the British could do something quicker and better than any other nation, caused Shackleton to rush into something he was completely unprepared for.   Whereas Amundsen, being Norwegian, was obviously very used to dealing with very cold temperatures, was fully trained with sled dogs and their uses, and set out fully trained and physically fit, Shackleton appears to have just taken the bloody minded, arrogant approach of... 'We're British and we know what we're doing and nothing, not even Nature, can stand in our way.   For King and Country, and all that!'

I just get the feeling that Shackleton's attitude was... 'Let's just get going, we can't afford to wait, we can sort it all out when we get there.'

While this book is, without a doubt, an incredible testament to the incredible bravery, fortitude and perseverance of humans to survive when pushed well beyond all imaginable limits, it's also a testament to some incredible stupidity.

Yes, i realise, that that was the zeitgeist: to just keep throwing people, lives and equipment at a problem until it was dealt with.   Human life was not held in such high regard back then as it is today.   Spending a few years properly planning and training was simply unacceptable when other nations would have no such restraint and do it before us.   So one does have to weigh this account in that regard, and when weighted in that light Shackleton did an incredible job, and it's always so easy to criticise with hindsight.   If the weather had been with him those years then what could have been achieved?
… (more)
5t4n5 | 39 other reviews | Aug 9, 2023 |
A well written autobiography that really makes you appreciate the challenges encountered and get a real feeling for what the team were going through day by team. It was quite tedious to read at times (actually, for large chunks) with how detailed the mundane descriptions of each day sometimes were but it did help to make you appreciate what they were going through.
gianouts | 39 other reviews | Jul 5, 2023 |



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